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Today, There Are No Worries

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The International Festival at Houston just sounds intriguing—am I right? This year, the organization spotlighted the Caribbean. Every year, they focused on a new and different culture from another part of the world. Many people from all over the state join together for this innovation celebration.

As for me and my friends, we chose to volunteer here to gain community service hours for school. Unfortunately, the first day was absolutely dreadful. I understand that community service isn’t meant to be beneficial in the entertainment factor, for it is hard work, but I guess I wasn’t used to working so hard. One of the workers of the festival ordered me to the admissions area, where I stood for eight hours scanning tickets and coupons.

The next day, I was upset to find out that despite the rain, we were still expected to come and work. I woke up extremely early and hated the day suddenly. A sharp pain shivered through my entire body from the night before. When I arrived at the volunteer area, the same worker from the night before directed me to a booth near the stage. CDs were laid on the table under a small little tent, protecting everyone from the drizzle of the rain. Occupying the tent was a woman, who seemed to be in her late forties.

“Well, hello,” she warmly greeted us. “I’m Joyce. Aren’t you guys cold from the rain? Here, sweetie,” she insisted. She offered me a towel and an extra tank top she held in her tote bag.

“No thank you,” I politely declined.

“No, honey,” she countered. “The shirt means nothing to me. I can’t have you here working for me in the cold.”

After I slipped on the new shirt, my friends Danny, Joseph, and Steve took a seat and got to know a little bit more about Joyce. She was a lively one for sure. Even though she looked a little over forty, she definitely was one of us—teenagers! She wasn’t like most adults. She liked fried Snickers. What adult would let you eat any candy bar fried? She even had a sense of style unlike most older adults. Instead of resorting to baggy shirts and dressing down, she kept her personality with her style.

As rain came pouring in mounds, Joyce suggested, “You guys should probably just leave me once the rain lightens up. No one’s coming to the booth in the rain, so why don’t you guys walk around and see the rest of the festival?”

“Are you sure?” Danny asked.

“I’m sure,” Joyce smiled. “You guys aren’t from here, so take advantage of this. Not much help is needed anyways—especially when it’s raining. I just need one thing.”

“Anything,” I replied.

“A fried Snickers. Bring me one back before you guys head out,” she joked.

As we nodded and hugged Joyce, we researched the festival as she wanted us to. I thought the day would’ve went bad, but it didn’t. Actually, because of Joyce, I had the courage to get on stage and dance amongst many other visitors of the festival. I would have never found this fire inside of me without Joyce.

Joyce was so much older than me, yet she was so much more alive than I ever was in my entire life. She was a kind soul, and she lived life. Not only did she live life, she treated each hour like the last.

Community service can benefit you in the hours you receive for school, but it can also show you a new way of living. With no worries. Through community service, I learned the importance of life. Quit worrying about not having fun--be the fun! Quit worrying that you look foolish--who cares! Quit worrying that someone is possibly saying something--what isn't heard can't hurt!

The old me from the day before would’ve automatically turn down the suggestion of dancing on this big stage in front of everyone, but today…no. Today, I’m not afraid to dance on stage. Today, I’m not afraid to take a bite of a fried Snickers bar. Today, I’m not afraid to scream out loud with the clothes I wear.

Most importantly, I’m not afraid to volunteer for the festival again. The morning that I wake up to volunteer in 2011 when the festival comes around again, I'll spring out of bed and rush for some fun. After all, I could go for another fried Snickers bar!





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