Step Forward

Posted: September 7, 2008 in Justice

Yesterday was the 20th Annual Step Forward Day at Pepperdine, but the first for my family. I’m sure we’ll make #21 and #22, and with the nationwide alumni movement, we might go for twenty or so ourselves.

It’s a day to encourage volunteerism, and not even counting the actual good done through volunteering, it does your heart good to see 1,000 college kids get up early on a Saturday morning to help others. At least it did mine.

My family was matched with two other families. We were assigned to ride the bus with Pepperdine’s baseball team, which made for a fun day all by itself. I enjoyed meeting Matt on the way, a junior infielder from Seattle who told me that they are a preseason pick to make it to the College World Series in Omaha. My family enjoys baseball, so we plan to be the team’s biggest fans.

The baseball team was dropped off at Santa Monica High School for their volunteer project. Our assignment was Will Rogers Elementary School next door. Our group cleaned out some flower beds, picked up trash, and spent a majority of the time cleaning out display cases and getting them ready for next week. We especially enjoyed getting to know Ron & Shelly Cox and their kids as we volunteered together.

But there was a special project just for me. The assistant principal asked if there was someone in our group who was good at organizing. My hand immediately went up, and Hillary and Jody started volunteering me simultaneously. It seems that the overworked elementary principal had this closet that things simply get thrown in during her busy job, and she just didn’t have time to block off a few hours and organize it.

It was like dangling a juicy piece of raw meat in front of a pack of hungry dogs.

It took me two hours, and I was pretty proud of my work. The fun part is that the principal didn’t know anyone was going to do it, so I’m excited to think about the smile on her face on Monday.

After a few hours of volunteer work, the bus hauled us and the baseball team back to Alumni Park at Pepperdine for a celebration. There was a brief ceremony, including a literal ceremonial Step Forward by all of us. There was a free lunch from In ‘N Out, which we have learned is THE hamburger place on the West Coast. And there was a free concert by Nelo (and you’ve got to click on the link and surf their website – cool music, but an even cooler website).

So we laid on the lush green lawn at the front of Pepperdine’s campus, eating an In ‘N Out burger, listening to good music, staring at the expanse of the Pacific Ocean across the Pacific Coast Highway, with the Santa Monica Mountains behind us. Not a bad finish to a very nice morning.

I have been heavily involved as a community volunteer for the past fifteen years or so. My three years of law school will necessarily cut down on my chances I know, but it sure felt good to be back in the saddle yesterday.

  1. fastfoodfriend says:

    Al, great to hear that you participated in the Step Forward Day. I talked to my son yesterday who is in his first year there at Pepperdine and he also had a good experience. Say Hi to your sweet daughter and tell her I enjoyed meeting her at King’s Kamp.

  2. alsturgeon says:

    Will do, Bruce!!!

    Hillary saw your son at church one of our first weeks here. I told her to point him out next time she sees him so I can introduce myself!

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