Baha'i News -- On a recent Friday afternoon
Washington County News

On a recent Friday afternoon


On a recent Friday afternoon, 11 children, ages 6 to 15, gathered in the Cornelius home of Linda Wilke.

One girl, on all fours like a dog, crawled to another girl and whined for food. The other girl yelled at the whiner and ignored her hunger.

The role-play was part of a lesson on the virtue of caring, one of 53 virtues in the Virtues Project developed by members of the Baha'i faith. It is being taught in the Forest Grove-Cornelius Baha'i Class for Children.

Wilke, 48, and her husband are longtime members of the Baha'i faith, which emphasizes religious unity and the oneness of humanity. When they moved to the Portland area in 1997, they settled in Cornelius because that's where a Baha'i official had told them more Baha'is were needed.

Two years after moving, Wilke joined Nancy Brown as a primary teacher of the weekly, two-hour children's class. Lynn Butler and Leslie Neyman also help.

The children learn songs, hear stories, conduct service projects and act out different virtues and their opposites, such as "caring" and "not caring."

One of the trickier virtues to teach, Neyman said, was moderation.

"Sometimes it is hard to balance your homework time and play time and family time and service time," she said.

But it was easy to act out immoderation. The children simply scheduled a daily diet of candy, cake, ice cream and pizza.

It doesn't have the urgency of serving food to hungry people or the earthy connection of a park cleanup. When it comes to volunteer work, the rubber band recycling program at the Beaverton City Library is about as dull as it gets.

"It's monotonous and repetitive, but on the other hand, it's a job that needs to be done, and they can't hire people to do that," said Ed Williams of Beaverton.

Williams and his wife, Juanita, both 82, began volunteering at the library in May. Both longtime patrons, they work for several hours each Wednesday morning. They run the copy machine, stuff envelopes, staple and cut out library forms, and spend anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes recycling rubber bands.

Each week, several thousand rubber bands come into the library on materials that have been requested from elsewhere in the county system. A routing slip is taped to the rubber band around each book or video so the courier knows where to go.

It's the Williamses' job to detach the rubber band from the routing slip, recycle the paper and send the rubber bands to the circulation department for re-use.

"It's a very simplistic job, but one that is an incredible help to us," said June Bass, volunteer coordinator for the library.

Each year, more than 24,000 schoolchildren and adults come to Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, home to nearly 200 species of birds, mammals and amphibians.

"The preserve is great for the wildlife," development director Sandy Crinklaw said. "But we haven't taken care of the people.

"Kids are coming out for their school tours, and there's no bathroom facilities. They have to stand in line to go to the Porta-potty."

A new education center, scheduled to open in 2003, will offer bathrooms, exhibits and educational presentations. It also will include tile wainscoting with the help of RE/MAX Equity Group's Hillsboro branch.

Crinklaw contacted broker Judy Close at RE/MAX after noticing the branch's community involvement in other projects, such as the new Tuality/OHSU Cancer Center. And she had a personal, if distant, connection with Close: "She was my landlord 20 years ago."

Crinklaw wondered whether the branch would help buy commemorative tiles for the center. Hillsboro artists Lynn Adamo and Bob Faber have created a series of four tiles in green, cream and blue-gray: a heron with heron tracks, a Western pond turtle and wapato plant, a river otter with otter tracks, and a Pacific chorus frog with cattails.

Close and branch manager Mike Vuylsteke liked the idea. For every home it sells through Dec. 31, the real estate office will donate a handmade tile in the home buyer's name. Each tile costs $50, and the wainscoting needs at least 300. So far, with help from other donors, 115 have been sold.

To buy a commemorative tile, call 503-681-6417. -- Jill Smith

©Copyright 2002, The Oregonian

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