Tuesday, September 4, 2012


What kind of teenager were you? They are hard years for sure, trying to figure yourself out and your place in the world while crazy hormones are coursing through your system. I wouldn't go back to being a teen for all the money in the world, would you? But if I had it together like Paige...maybe?

This is Paigeikus aka Paige...she is 15.

She is phenomenal. She plays the drums. She qualified for the Junior Olympics in shot put and javelin . She wasn't able to go because of some snafu with registration and she handled it with grace. She is a super smarty pants and goes to an engineering high school. All this and she is the most easy going teen I have ever met, just a delight to be around. Yes, she is human teenager from this planet....

She is also a little goofy and clumsy as illustrated below...

My name is Paige Cero and I did a service project that allowed me to volunteer for a kindergarten class in Antioch, California. I have never really been one who went looking to volunteer on my own free time. I have always been the person who if the service was presented to I would volunteer, but if I had to do it on my own it would never get done. So this project was difficult for me because I really had to leave my comfort zone and search for somewhere I could volunteer my time effectively. I searched for a project for so long trying to find one that connected to me, and then when I thought I had found the perfect project. I discovered that I was unable to do the project because there were too many restrictions on how it had to be done.

Then finally I found my destined project the one I had been waiting for: volunteering in a kindergarten classroom. While I was volunteering at the classroom, I thought to myself this is a pretty big class. Then I learned that there were 32 kids to one teacher in each kindergarten class, and then I remembered that was the same amount of kids in my high school class. This newly discovered information changed my view of the world, by making me think about why the kindergarten classes had almost doubled in size over the past few years? The conclusion I got for the answer was the following: the population might have grew overnight or maybe budget cuts have made it hard for elementary schools to have more kindergarten teachers.

I would like to conclude by saying that this volunteering project has changed my life for the better. It has made me better at leaving my comfort zone, and has helped me learn how to volunteer for things I wouldn’t normally volunteer for. This project has also further increased my knowledge of worldly things I once ignored. Finally, this project has taught me how to never give up when things get hard and for that I am grateful.

This is Paige's Aunt and DeAnn's sister speaking. I want to fill in where Paige left off. Paige was in full school mode (she's in an engineering program at Antioch High) and she wrote this like a book report, but I'll tell you all the gory details, haha!
When DeAnn started the SIP Project, I wanted to support her, but couldn't really send much “business” her way as I live in California. When I found out we were going to visit for Thanksgiving I wanted Paige to come with us. I asked her if she wanted to get her pictures taken for a service project and she was pretty excited. She is fifteen and has been an only child until her little sister was born last year. Her mom had portraits taken of the two girls, and although they were beautiful, they didn't speak to Paige's personality. She jumped at the chance to have pictures taken the way she wanted them to be, not mom fixing her hair and dressing her. She's very close with her mom, but she was excited to do something for herself. Paige is possibly the most well rounded person I have ever met. She is ridiculously smart, beautiful, clumsy (like me), creative, musical (like me). Even though I married into her family, I feel like she very easily could have been my kid. She's in the engineering program, center snare in the school's drumline, taking drum and piano lessons, avid reader, faithful friend...I could go on and on, but I won't. I just LOVE her!

When we started looking for a project, every turn was a dead end. She was too young, there were too many restrictions on who was allowed to volunteer or what donations could be taken. There just didn't seem to be a need in an organization that was a “fit” for Paige. Finally, as I was volunteering in my son's kindergarten class, it occurred to me this could work for her. The school was desperate for people to work in classrooms. Parent participation was at a low, especially in the kindergarten classes. I asked his teacher how she felt about  Paige  volunteering and she was thrilled. Paige is super good with kids. It doesn't matter how old she is, she will always have a soft spot for Nerf wars and made up games. She came in the first time for the 100th day of Kindergarten celebration. It was a mad house! Without Paige, there would have not been any order in the chaos. She was a little shy at first, but soon kids were flocking to her.

 Throughout the year I had offered to take home some of his teachers prep work to free up some of her time instead of doing it in the classroom I could really be helping her, not cutting out barns. Paige told the teacher that she could help with anything after school hours so more and more of the teachers were taking advantage and sending things home with me for Paige and I to assemble, cut, glue, what have you. I got many a thank you note for her services.
With budget cuts, these poor teachers are hideously outnumbered so more and more pressure is put onto parents for picking up where teachers just can't reach. This experience for Paige, in my humble opinion, filled a need that was desperately needed, but was unclear how to fill. I think she appreciated her teachers a little more. She probably doesn't even realize the impact she had on those kids in allowing the teachers to have more precious time with them.
Paige is good people, and I grow more proud of her everyday. I'm grateful she had both the experience of serving and the photo shoot with DeAnn. Both gave her more confidence, and who doesn't need a little more confidence!

Thanks Paige and Amy :)

So I am not sure what's going on if peeps just got bored with all The SIP Summer Camp posts this summer or if  it's just because it was summer? Well there hasn't been many comments happening on the blog the past few months. To jump start more commenting I am doing a giveaway. I really want your input your thoughts, feelings, insights, whatever you want to say. I will also be taking the extra step to post my comments on the blog every time I get a comment. I always respond via e-mail to every comment. Your comments are like high fives or a big hug or both at the same time...visualize that one, could be dangerous.

It's a gamble. I know how many comments I have on my blog but there isn't a comment counter visible to you. So the person with the 281st comment will win the prize package. The contest ends when I get the 281st comment. I will announce it on the blog and Face Book (I promise it's a very very reasonable number to reach). It's just a fun way to give you something fun and encourage some comment love :)

Prize package includes - 2 rolls of washi tape, package of 6 adorable paper loaf baking pans, and a $15 Amazon gift card. A few of my favorite things.


  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh Paigee Girl, I love Paige, Amy and DeAnn, this was soooooooooo fun for Paige. She not only got a great vacation with family but then the added bonus of FUN pictures! I would have to agree with DeAnn and Amy when it comes to the accolades for Paige, but both Amy & DeAnn are wonderful examples for a young woman!! Thanks for you ongoing interest in our girl!! Love, Mar (Grandma Diaz)

  2. What a great way for her to serve! I think sometimes we think "BIG" - feeding the hungry, etc, but it's the small things in our own community that make the longest lasting impact. And she's very beautiful!

  3. She is absolutely so cute! I love that she got to volunteer in a classroom and that it changed her perspective on the school and budgeting, etc...that is definitely something she will be able to draw on for years to come! So, so fun! We should totally talk sometime about the frustrations of the blogging world, etc...I can definitely relate!!! (c:

  4. AWESOME is the best word I can think of to describe Paige! She is the perfect example of what a young lady should be. If she is an inkling of our future then I would have to say we are in good hands! I love you Paigee Girl!!! Continue to be AWESOME and the very sweet, smart and beautiful young lady that you are! This project is GREAT!!! What an inventive way of giving back to the community!

  5. Paige is awesome! And you've taken some amazing pictures. I do want you to know that I follow your blog and appreciate all the work you put into it. Sorry I'm not always able to comment, but please keep it up. I love seeing your photos and being able to "keep in touch" even though we don't live close anymore.

  6. What a great project! Tagging it on pinterest as yaw project is working! A friend of mine in Idaho pinned it to a board called spfpms. Which stands for society promoting future productive members of society. Might be a good idea to research that as well. This same friend also had a neat link for www.somewhatsimple.com. Where they also ran "summer of service" series! Take a look!

  7. Beautiful photos! And it sounds like she was really an asset to those teachers last year. I bet it made a difference in the kids' lives even if she wasn't working them with face to face very often.


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