In 2009, I belonged to a Mom's Playgroup because I worked part-time. The Big Kid and I would attend playdates and events, and it was a good way to network with people, too. I answered an ad on the message group of this board, looking for volunteers to devote some time in a charity program called Women-Aid. There's chapters of Women-Aid all over the country, and the jist is this: to raise funds and donate them to women who are having difficulty financially. And by "Difficulty" I mean that they are a month's behind in rent, or have high heating bills and the gas is going to be shut off, etc. But they don't qualify for public assistance of some kind. People would refer women in need to us, and we would verify the need using a third party. Once verified, if there were funds available we would pay the bill directly to the provider.
Sounds like a lot of work, huh? It was!! We had a few successful fundraisers but were ultimately raising the awareness and funds ourselves. (Not backing them, but doing a walk to raise funds, partnering up with "Dress for Success" for an evening of raffle tickets, vendors and donating work clothes, etc etc. We were three women, all with other committments. Then the three of us all got pregnant within a few months' time (the other two actually delivered on the same day!) and it got harder. Then one of the other women was getting divorced, and was no longer available for meetings. Lastly, the other woman resigned due to difficulty keeping up with all that life was throwing her way. Which left me holding the ball.
That was four years ago. FOUR YEARS AGO. This was something that, when I originally answered the ad, I was just looking for a volunteer thing to "help out." And now I was stuck on "bail out." So I ignored it. Every time I came across the folder and notebook labeled Women-Aid, I'd toss it in a drawer. Out of sight (not quite) out of mind. With a husband and two kids, a very stressful job at the time and whatever else I had going on, I "didn't have the time" to close it out. I did do some research online and discovered what I thought was that I would have to go to court to close out the charity. UGH, if there's one thing I hate, it's going to court! By this time both of the other women had moved out of the area, one out of state. So, when I was packing up my old house, when I came across the box of Women-Aid stuff, I just tossed it aside again, saying "I'll deal with it later." I knew I had to deal with this eventually, but I didn't know how.
A few months ago, I decided that I finally had to face the music. I contacted a lawyer that I've worked with before in terms of my job, and he gave me some advice for free. He looked over some stuff, perused some stuff online and said "___, this stuff is closed. The requirements have been satisfied for two years....just close the bank account, donate the funds to a similar charity and keep the letter and copy of check for your records. Wow, what a weight to be lifted! So FINALLY, I went to the bank today and closed that puppy out. It's over, it's DONE.
So, in review, two lessons learned:
1. Stop being a "Yes-person." I actually have learned this lesson already, and I'm doing better. But this is the biggest example of why I needed to learn to say no sometimes.
2. Ask for help!! I am the first to admit that I am terrible with this, I take on way too much on my own, not wanting to "inconvenience" someone else.I spent four years saying "What the hell am I going to do about this....." Had I picked up the phone, I wouldn't have had to deal with the guilt and dragged-out mess. Trust me, I am kicking myself.