Contributed by Shinnyo-en Seattle member, Michael May
Every April, the followers of Shinnyo-en Seattle have dedicated themselves to the city that hosts their temple – Burien, Washington. This dedication comes in the form of volunteering at the annual city clean-up event, Burien Clean Sweep.
The commitment of Shinnyo-en Seattle was made even stronger this year with support from Shinnyo-en Foundation, which made a small contribution to the clean-up. The City of Burien is a small, working-class town of about 50,000 people that sits on Puget Sound just south of Seattle. It’s a beautiful place but does not always have enough resources to maintain that beauty.
Seeing that their community needs them is why the Shinnyo-en Seattle volunteers have committed themselves for this many years – giving back to the city that first welcomed them in 2002. This April was no different from the previous years. Volunteers gathered at the local fire station to get their assignments from event coordinators before fanning out. Standing in the chilly morning air, sharing some coffee and morning greetings, over 30 volunteers from the Seattle Temple waited.
This year’s task was cleaning up the business core, affectionately known as “Olde Burien.” Volunteers stretched out down a 4-block alley that local coordinators told them was the most challenging and required the biggest cleanup. The group – spanning from toddlers to senior citizens and in between – was up for the task. What they found varied from common cigarette butts to abandoned swinging doors of a commercial kitchen. What they left was an alley free of debris as they worked their way down the street.
By midday, the event was winding down. Innumerable bags of garbage were gathered. Words of thanks were exchanged with local business people. Muscles were tired but a joy permeated the group, knowing that good work happened.
Thank you, Michael, for contributing this article and leading the Shinnyo-en Seattle volunteers every year!
The Foundation staff enjoyed volunteering side-by-side the temple staff and members. We wrapped up the weekend by hosting a visit and presentation by the Seattle University Shinnyo Fellows at the temple. They shared stories about their service work as Shinnyo Fellows this past year, giving temple members a chance to hear about some of the pressing social issues young people in their community are tackling. The Shinnyo-en Seattle Youth Association reciprocated the sharing with a presentation on the numerous hours of service they contributed in the last year in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Youth Association. It was truly a weekend to reflect on, and celebrate, community!