Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Chelsea Clinton Day!

Typically, when I get mass emails from various sources, I immediately delete, barely taking a glimpse at the subject line (I'm sorry, but how MANY 40% off sales can Banana Republic HAVE?). I have to say, as much as I love all things Clinton, mass emails from the Clinton Foundation typically fall prey to this activity as well.

That's why it took a couple of (friendly!) reminders from the Clinton Foundation before I finally actually opened an email talking about a Chicago Day of Action. You would think I would be drawn to the day itself - it is, after all, a day of giving back to the community.

But... well, please. What actually prompted me to open the email was the subject heading "Last Chance to join Chelsea for a Day of Action in Chicago".

I mean, an opportunity to hang out with a member of the Clinton family?!

Count. Me. In.

Hey, at least I'm honest right? Right. We'll go with that.

In any event, I was actually really impressed with how well-organized this whole day turned out to be... especially considering I had absolutely no idea what my "assignment" was actually going to be until about two days before the event itself. But let me start at the beginning.

So this day of service was actually being put on by this group called Chicago Cares. Because CGI America was taking place in Chicago during the latter half of this week, the Clinton Foundation decided to partner with Chicago Cares to sponsor and promote this Day of Action (an annual event that the Foundation has started doing in various cities around the country, I believe). There were quite a few activities going on with this day of action - I guess there have to be with 1,000+ volunteers milling about to support the cause! GOD!! I was just so proud to be a Chicagoan on this day.

I used to be really into volunteering back in high school and college when the opportunities arose. But I kind of let the whole volunteering thing fall to the wayside as I tried to figure out what the heck I was doing with my life throughout my 20s. I've been trying to get more into it over the past couple of years and I have to say, I do find my life to be a bit more enriched because of these kinds of experiences smattered amidst the daily grind. Deep, I know.

But I digress.

So I was told to arrive at Daley Plaza to check in, pick up my T-shirt (the essentials, of course ;)) and map by 8 AM. Chelsea Clinton (among others) would deliver opening remarks at 8:30 AM and we would all be on our way to our respective work sites by 9:15 AM.

8 AM on a Saturday would normally trigger all kinds of miserable thoughts but not this day. In fact, not gonna lie, I woke up (sans alarm) at 5:43 AM this fine Saturday morning. I honestly could not even TRY to fall back asleep for another hour or so! I was just so DARN excited... I mean, it was Chelsea Clinton Day the Day of Action!

There was no WAY I was just going to wait till 8 AM to make my appearance on Daley Plaza. Please - I'm far too seasoned a veteran in celebrity stalking to know that you need to allow PLENTY of time to organize yourself... and/or plant yourself RIGHT in front of the stage (or wherever you anticipate the celebrity to be).

So I merrily got myself ready and hopped on my 22 bus to Daley Plaza earlier than I'd originally anticipated... and ended up at Daley Plaza at like 7:15 AM. Oh well - I hate crowds so I loved being able to walk right up to the registration table to pick up all my schwaaaag

The eyes say: "It's 7:15 AM on a Saturday", the smile says: "It's CHELSEA CLINTON DAY!! HOLLAAAA!!"

Once I got myself organized, I actually ended up having some time to wander about the different stands set up at Daley Plaza (I'm not sure why this surprises me... I was pretty much one of the first registrants ON the Plaza to begin with! Haha) and, of course, grab myself a cup of coffee.

Well, after grabbing my cup of coffee, I started getting a bit nervous about how many people were starting to infiltrate the Plaza...

So you better BELIEVE I made a beeline for that stage and... well, to be honest, just stood there in front of it. (Not sure if you were expecting something more glamorous and exciting out of a celebrity stalker but you're not going to get it here.)

I think it was about 8 AM by this point, so I only had a half hour to wait. Seasoned veteran of celebrity stalking that I am, a half hour was a piece of cake.

And just like I thought, a half hour came and went. I honestly don't know what I do to occupy my time (I think people watching certainly helped things move along) sometimes but hey - at least time does end up flying. Before I knew it, look at who finally arrived!!

Oh, I couldn't stop beaming (creeper...). I was just so, so excited to see her!

After a few minutes of setup, the keynote addresses began.

You think I'm kidding when I say I was front and center but... well, I think the vantage point of this video I took will speak for itself.

And I just have to say, I absolutely loved her speech! She just came across as so down-to-earth and PERSONABLE!! Loved the personal anecdotes she had to share.

Anyway, come 9:15 AM, we were ready to leave Daley Plaza to head to our respective sites. I'm not kidding when I'm saying everything was so well-orchestrated... check out all these buses lined up to take us all to our respective sites!

I was so pleased with my assignment - painting hallways at a South Side school. I feel kind of lucky with this assignment since I'm a HUGE fan of everything related to this project - I love kids, I love education and... well, it's been a while since I've painted, but I do love painting as well!

After a few opening remarks by the school principal, we got right to work. My group headed to the school's third floor which looked like this:

Obviously, before beginning the whole painting thing, we had to "set up" - basically, we had to line the floors with drop cloths and tape the edges to avoid getting paint any/everywhere.

And then... well, then we GOT. TO. BUSINESS.

I have to say, I can't remember the last time I actually painted but this experience reminded me of just why I enjoy painting so much - it's so... cathartic, if you will. And well, this sounds kind of weird, but I also realized just how much I miss manual labor (in some regard). Again, I know, it sounds weird. But there's just something to be said about seeing something go from start to finish that you've created / done with your own two hands. Regardless, check out the final product!

Okay, so to be fair, as we were going through this whole painting experience, quite a few of us were wondering what the difference between the "top panel" and "bottom panel" colors were. To be honest, I would have chosen very different colors for repainting a school hallway (I mean, this looks kind of BLAND, no?!) but oh well - at least it looked a lot cleaner and less dingy than it had before.

I guess. (I mean... not even a colorful mural or two for the walls?! Really?)

Before I knew it, we were done! The day literally flew by but, not going to lie, I was definitely EXHAUSTED by the end of it (all that early morning excitement, I tell ya...).

All in all though, a delightful experience. I was talking to one of the Clinton Foundation folks and heavily emphasized my interest in making this an annual Day in Chicago... clearly, I hold a lot of clout with the Foundation so fingers crossed that they'll MAKE. THIS. HAPPEN!

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