On Monday of this week I did my first school outreach for teens. And let me just say, I was NERVOUS! I went to a K-8 elementary and saw roughly 120 6th and 7th graders in chunks of about 30. I asked them about their familiarity with ACL, told them about a program or two (but left most of the informing work to a colorful hand out), did a book talk and played a game with them. My favorite part of the game was throwing candy at the kids – I think this was their favorite part too. Nervous as I was at first, by the end of the day I was feeling fine. And it went well! Really well!
Two days later a familiar looking girl came up to me and asked if I was the lady who came to her school. We ended up getting into a 10 minute conversation about manga, anime, and video games. I made a new connection and so did she. I know she’ll come back and feel comfortable talking to me again.
Now I don’t really think many would dispute the benefits or importance of getting out into the community to talk to the people we’re trying to serve, but sometimes it just seems so much easier not to do it. I know I personally have let time and personal discomfort dissuade me. But with my recent success I have new vigor to get out there and do my thing.
Moral of the story: Stop putting it (whatever it is) off and just do it. You might be really happy with the results.