Hello All. I hope that everyone had a great 4th of July. I know we did here at the house.  For those that do not know, I am Taffany Duggins the new summer intern at Lydia’s House. Over the last few months, I had fallen in love with Lydia’s House through my role as a regular House Duty volunteer. I am now very grateful for this more substantial role. I have been able to see some great happenings here at the house over the past few weeks and have had the opportunity to be a part of those events. One of those was our celebration of the 4th of July at Ault Park in Hyde Park. While some of us had to work and others had a day off, it was celebrated with great joy with all of us coming together for a wonderful dinner and then fireworks were watched with great joy.

During the course of the evening, I got to wittiness patriotism firsthand, demonstrated in different ways such as eating dinner that each of us in attendance took part in some way, either cooking or eating. I saw families having picnics together and socializing with neighbors, food vendors selflessly serving others, and musicians playing music for all of us to enjoy. My fellow staff members, volunteers, my kids and our resident all showed their spirit of the 4th of July and their own understanding of patriotism. Jefferson House Government defines patriotism as zealous love for one’s country. It’s like a disease that every man and woman carries. It spreads from one soul to the next like an unstoppable wildfire. There is no cure for such a disease; for this is one of pure determination and pride.

So I really like this definition. Why? Well, as I have volunteered here at Lydia’s House, I have learned a lot of things. One of them is how kind, loving, and nurturing people in our community are and how it is spreading like a wildfire that cannot be put out. These traits among our volunteers are just like a disease, and the people that have come together to make a success out of this house have pure determination and pride in everything they do. Laura gets our CSA every week and shows us how to use it all so that it does not go to waste. Mary Ellen went to an important meeting with me when I really needed someone else there. Elizabeth sat for endless hours at the emergency room with my son and me when he busted his front tooth and lip. We sit down to our community dinners that we have on a nightly basis, and we take time out of our week to stop in and check on Meredith’s old landlord Sally Miracle. One of our house duty volunteers, Anne, asked her mother to make pot holders for the house, and her mother took time out of her vacation to make some that matched our dining room chair colors and our table cloths. Each one of these acts of kindness is a way that each of us takes time out of our busy days to make the next person’s day a little better.

I do not think that patriotism just has to be about country. It can be about community as well, and that is what has been for me here at Lydia’s House. No, I have not been here from the beginning, but in the short time I have been here, I have felt a place of belonging and zealous love, not just for myself but for the women we are serving.

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