“Bee the Change”: Rose of Lima House


“Beeing the Change” is a new series about what the hive is doing to live our motto.  This past holiday season, our hive decided to give our time and to explore the act of giving in lieu of “gifts.”  As Lisa Zenno describes in our first post, volunteering on behalf of another “bee” in our hive was much more meaningful than anything she could have put in a box.

Last December, some of us in the Melibee hive partook in a virtual “secret santa” exchange with a small twist.  Instead of gift exchanging, we were randomly paired to volunteer on another Melibee’s behalf.  My secret recipient was Sarah D–our remarkable Marketing bee.  Solely based on what I gathered from seeing her FB and Instagram posts–when I think of Sarah, I think of femininity.  To pair the theme of femininity and our shared passion for food, I decided to volunteer at the Rose of Lima House, a housing facility for homeless women in downtown Seattle.

I looked up the calendar at Seattle Works  and saw that there was an opening for a meal prep at the Rose of Lima House.  I created an account with Seattle Works and signed my name on the roster.  It wasn’t until the day before (!!!) that I got an email explaining where to meet and what was expected of us.

Lisa, on the right, with fellow volunteers
Lisa, on the right, with fellow volunteers

This was my first time volunteering through Seattle Works and I was diving in– not knowing what to expect. I was anxious to see who else were signed up and what interests they all had.

At the end of the day, I learned it wasn’t about who I got to connect with, or what the others’ interests were, but rather that I was there to serve and that I can make a difference. The whole experience slowly sunk in, and made me realize how volunteering to serve others is a gift in itself. Granted,  ‘all’ I did was grated about 7.5 pounds of cheddar cheese and helped serve some mac and cheese during the shelter’s open house–but this allowed for other volunteers to take a break that day and enjoy the event.  It was because of our commitment that others were able to enjoy the moment.  That, in itself was all worth it.

This experience opened my eyes to what volunteering really means, and how powerful it can be to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.  I think we make volunteering to be something bigger than we make it ought to be.  If four strangers can work collaboratively at one location for a mere four hours and make such a difference–imagine what the world can look like giving away a few extra hours of your time.


My spur of the moment choice of volunteering with the ladies at Rose House opened up even more opportunities for me to spend with their residents.  Last month I spent a couple hours teaching origami. This month is yet to be determined.  What I know for sure is that I’m grateful for the opportunity.  That, and I think this “secret santa” with a Melibee twist is a tradition worth spreading.  What better gift than a gift of giving.


About the Author:  Lisa Zenno is the Lead Bee of the Melibee Global hive.  You can learn more about how fabulous she is here.