By Sally Torbey
About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the challenges of having a satisfying family life in a community where parents set a high bar for themselves, their children, and the schools and organizations that educate and socialize them. I grew up in the Midwest, attended a small liberal arts college on the East Coast and graduated from medical school in Chicago. I left a pediatric residency to care for our then infant son and spent the next dozen years contentedly gestating and lactating while having four more children. My husband grew up in the Middle East, came to the US for graduate school and works in high tech. Our eldest son graduated from a UC, and after working in the Middle East for a few years, now attends law school in NYC. Our eldest daughter graduated from a Midwestern Big Ten University and is a journalist in Texas. Our middle child studies engineering at a UC. The youngest two girls are in middle and high school in PAUSD. We are celebrating 20 years as PAUSD parents! I volunteer in the public schools, our church, and scouting. (Hide)
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Uploaded: Jan 11, 2016
I helped chaperone the music boosters concession stand at the Palo Alto High School flea market this weekend. The band students sell pastries, coffee, chips and burgers to raise money for the music program. As I watched the students learning the basics of waiting on customers, keeping track of orders, and hygienically wrapping sandwiches, I thought back to my first jobs: working at a gift shop, selling coats at a department store and busing tables at an Italian restaurant at a ski resort.
I thought about all the skills I acquired and honed with those jobs, and how, like our kids, many teenagers don’t do these jobs anymore because between academic loads, sports commitments, SAT prep classes, internships, and community service work, there isn’t time, and now we provide the spending money (which would have eliminated my major motivation for employment!).
By working the music boosters concession stand, in addition to earning the community service hours she covets, our daughter is learning to work on a team, follow established procedures, and serve customers. Flea market vendors need to stay put at their stands to sell their wares, so the kids go booth to booth taking orders for morning coffee and then later lunch, grilled and delivered at the vendors’ requested time. The older kids run the grill and instruct and organize the younger students, assigning them tasks and keeping them on schedule. Food delivery is not only a nice convenience for the flea market vendors, but the vendors, many who are seniors, clearly appreciate chatting with the teenagers as they make their rounds.
All in all, a very productive way for teens to spend a Saturday: raising money for a great high school program, gaining useful work experience, and providing a much appreciated service!
What is it worth to you?
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