Two weeks ago, while I cheered on Erik at a soccer game, Pedar and Casey woke up really early and went to Oak Park to volunteer for the Paint the Town event, sponsored by NeighborWorks.

Over 150 volunteers painted, repaired and landscaped 10 homes in South Oak Park. NeighborWorks offers education, affordable lending and other services to promote home ownership, particularly in low-income areas. 

Pedar and Casey worked on a landscaping project. It was really hot and dirty work, but they made a big difference in the yard by the end of the day. Pedar was very proud of Casey. He would tell him to go sit down and rest in the shade, but after two minutes Casey would get back up, move rocks and help put plants in the ground. 

Digging in dry, clay soil, feels a bit like trying to dig in cement. The drought has made most yards so hard. 

The best part, Casey was proud of the work they accomplished. He said, "Mom, her yard looks so much better and she was so happy!" 

Today, Pedar is helping take fifth graders to Ancil Hoffman to work on another community project. They are helping clean up Effie Yeaw Nature Center. 

I'm grateful that our jobs and Mission Avenue Open Elementary School provide so many wonderful volunteering opportunities.