Taking It In

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I leaned back against the cool seat and gazed sleepily out the window as the bus

wove its way southward. Pondering about how this day was going to unfold, I

was beginning to feel more energized than I had felt about an hour ago when I

had just woken up. Today was the Paint-a-thon activity for the club Interact, and

I had volunteered to participate.

This experience was one I would not trade for all the money in the world. It

made me feel like I was making a difference. It feels amazing to make

someone’s day. The woman we were helping had a magnificent expression of

gratefulness on her countenance, and it seeped joy into my heart. Giving and

receiving satisfaction does not compare to giving and receiving something

materialistic. I am glad I spent my time wisely that day. I definitely wish to

continue having experiences like this one.

I was becoming highly sentient of other people on the street as I continued

peering out the window, and I suddenly spotted a group of high school students

picking up the trash in the community near their school. I wondered if other

people were going to notice what we were doing today too. As the other

volunteers and I stumbled out of the bus and walked towards the house we were

going to paint, we began to examine our surroundings. Most of the houses on

the narrow street were extremely small and tightly packed together; moreover,

the front yards were the size of a small classroom. There were no children

playing in the street.

As we were shoveling out the gravel amongst the wild entwined bushes and

vines, dust and dirt rose up into our squinting eyes. About seven people,

including me, were assigned the gardening task. We worked vigorously to make

this garden beautiful as the look of “We are doing something nice for another

person” was lingering on everyone’s faces. Next, we took a brief detour to Home

Depot to select flowers to plant in the tiny garden. After spreading the mulch

evenly, we began to plant the flowers. We all stepped back together and

observed the work we had done, and I was more than satisfied as I saw the

same look of content appear on my new friends’ faces. We joined the other

painters to finish the job with a new surge of zest, as our caring English teacher

Mrs. Green continued to encourage us.

My first lesson as a volunteer participating in a city-wide event was that hard

work really does pay off. The more sweat, time and enthusiastic dedication you

put into a project, the more its worth. The second lesson was that I suddenly

realized that helping others is something I wanted to do the rest of my life. The

brilliant glow of happiness that radiates from another person’s face gives me

goosebumps and feels absolutely right in the world to me, so I stood there, taking it in.





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