PTSA auction offers a chance to give something back

In 1980, in a fit of passion, I left the Island to sit with Tibetan Buddhists in the Rocky Mountains. I returned home to Vashon Island six months later. If I had learned nothing else, I learned this: “When you do for yourself you tire easily; when you do for others you do not.”

So when the Vashon PTSA asked for volunteers for this year’s fundraising auction, I naturally said yes. When the event theme of “giving back” was suggested during a brainstorming session, I latched on to it to make it the focus of this event.

I have been blessed by this Island and its people for the past 34 years and could never give back enough. I have tried — as a board member for the Vashon Island School District, Vashon Park District, community council, Vashon Island Junior Basketball and Vashon Youth Baseball and as a volunteer school bus driver, classroom helper, grant writer, chaperone and cleanup person.

However, the most rewarding of all of my volunteer experiences is the time that I have spent during the past 25-plus years coaching our Island youth in baseball and basketball. Three years ago, I attended a banquet event in San Diego, Calif. Out of nowhere came an over-exuberant Peter — a large grown man now in a suit and tie whom I had coached in the 1990’s — screaming, “You made me an athlete! You made me an athlete!” and hugging me so hard I could hardly breathe.

A while back, I was standing on the Fauntleroy ferry dock after a hard day at work waiting for the cars to unload. A red convertible went by, I saw the driver’s head turn, and the words “Thanks, coach!” filled the air. It was David. I coached him in the 1980s.

I am making a difference. Our children are our hope for the future. These Jedi knights that we have all helped prepare to go out and save the world deserve everything we can give back to them.

It is no secret that our schools are suffering greatly during these austere economic times. The Vashon PTSA is committed to making a difference in the education of Island children through partnerships with our schools. Its mission is to help create a superior learning environment by collaborating with parents, schools and the community.

The PTSA’s annual auction is one way that we make a difference for the Vashon Island School District — by funding much-needed purchases, such as textbooks, and supporting various programs, including the Science Fair, science nights, math, art, teen forums, Popcorn Fridays, emergency preparedness and much, much more.

You can make a difference also. Come participate, have a good time, and give back at the PTSA auction on Saturday, May 15. If you can’t make the date, you can send a monetary donation.

Perhaps you want to donate that ’57 Corvette that you don’t drive much anymore. Or, if you’re low on cash, we have 60 volunteer opportunities for you to invoke some good karma.

Last, but not least, thank you, Coach Logan, for being there for me when I was a kid and keeping me off the streets and out of trouble.

— Jake Jacobovitch is the PTSA 2010 auction chair and a former member of the Vashon Island School Board.

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