Grandma Mamiko was busy preparing a cup of cinnamon tea for herself and granddaughter, Rachel, on a recent Saturday afternoon, when a beautiful, bright sun was s-l-o-w-l-y f-a-l-l-i-n-g into its night time nest amidst a forest of bright orange and yellow leaves blanketing our country kitchen with autumnal splendor and warmth. Rachel, who we affectionately refer to as our “TEF sister,” was smiling ear to ear at us on a tiny little Apple 6 phone screen, thanks to that Face Time thing that every human being on the planet seems to use except this old school, rotary dial phone groupie who still remembers gushing over the premiere of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and her first white princess push button phone of her very own. Rachel was so excited to finally connect with her “sister from another mother,” Amanda, after our recent move to Ludlow, VT, and the two chatted nonstop as if a three month separation never existed. We were excited to get the ball rolling and let Rachel share why she loves TEF so much, and what this non-profit has done for her---and her loving, devoted, and TEF supporter extraordinaire, grandmama Mamiko.
Hilary: So Miss Rachel, share with us why The Extended Family has been so important in your life.
Rachel: Well, I get to do things I really like. Like putting labels on bags of jelly beans, and then selling the jelly beans. People love the jelly beans. They are really, really good.
Hilary: What do you think you like the best? Labeling or selling?
Rachel: Ummm, I think I like doing both. They are both fun. I have gotten really good at putting on the labels. I’m very careful when I do it so the labels are straight and in the right spot.
Hilary: So when you’re at The Freight House with all of your buddies, what “job” do you enjoy the most?
Rachel: I like weighing the jelly beans, and I like putting them in the bags. And I get to do this with Luke, Erica, Joey, and Laurie, and lots of people who make it more fun.
Hilary: Do you agree Mamiko, that all of this is a lot more fun having a great group of interns who Rachel can do this micro-business with?
Mamiko: For sure. It’s a very celebratory atmosphere when we go there. Everyone is very conscientious and very focused on doing their job. Everyone helps each other. It’s such a special and meaningful time for everyone.
Hilary: Did Rachel do other things before joining The Extended Family?
Mamiko: Yes, she has volunteered at the library for a long time, which she loves. Everyone has always been so nice to her there, and it’s something Rachel loves to do. There are very good people there who are very kind.
Hilary: So when you reconnected with Laurie, and discovered TEF and their efforts to create meaningful engagement for all of the Rachel’s, Luke’s, Sean’s, Amanda’s and Erica’s out there, what was your first reaction?
Mamiko: I was all in. I was over the moon when Laurie told me about this. I have known Laurie for a long time. Luke and Rachel went to school together. Laurie and I always wanted to work together. Once Laurie told me about this, I wanted to do as much as I could to help Laurie and Susan make this happen.
Hilary: So Rachel, do you want to do more things that are fun with The Extended Family?
Rachel: Yes. I am happy having a job to do because it makes me feel good. I love to work. And I’m a really hard worker.
Hilary: TEF is so lucky to have you Rachel!! Say hi to the gang!
Rachel: I will! Bye!!!!!
Meet our new Social Media Manager, Hilary Schwartz Wolfson:
Writing Life. Happy Life. I am now the official Social Media Manager for The Extended Family (along with being on the Advisory Board) and am discovering that my talents, going all the way back to my days as a freelancer for The NY Times 15 plus years ago, are surprisingly (and happily) being appreciated by folks today. I cannot deny that I am at my happiest when I am writing, particularly about issues that are important to me, so stay tuned Extended Family supporters for some lively interviews from our participants and intermittent Q & A's about our tribe and the three women (Laurie, Susan & Lisa) who made this all a reality!!
When Hilary isn’t blogging and acting as social media advisor for TEF you can find her playing with Frankie and Johnny, her two favorite goat buddies.🐐🐐