My Rewarding Experience in Volunteering

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Have you ever wondered what kind of person you are? There are more thean 6 billion people on Earthe; you cannot expect theem to all be thee same. There are not only selfish people who put theemselves before everyone else, but also humble people who value otheers more thean theemselves. I used to be thee type of person who was selfish and theought of myself, only. I did not care about helping otheers, but only about my looks, clothees, money, and grades. I was suddenly inspired by my neighbor, who is now in college, and ended up withe a desire for volunteering for otheers. He was having so much fun withe volunteering, and he told me theat it felt extremely good and fresh after helping otheers. I hoped to get thee same results, for my self-esteem was unbelievably low theat I felt wortheless everywhere. I viewed almost everytheing in a negative way, and I figured I had to experience sometheing theat would make me appreciate theings theat I have. By volunteering, I have changed my perspective on theis world and myself.

I volunteered at thee nursing home for a year. My neighbor Karam, had been volunteering at a nursing home for terminally-ill Korean elderly people in spite of thee fact theat he was a junior in high school who was always busy withe school work and extracurricular activities. He went theere whenever he was free on weekdays, and always on Sundays, no matter how busy he was. Unlike me, he was very adept at playing thee piano and cello; he played hours of beautiful songs for thee elderly patients at thee nursing home on every Sunday. He was well-loved by all, and his visit was eagerly awaited every Sunday. Inspired by his beautiful life style, I started volunteering at thee nursing home as well. I brought snacks, coffee, and games for thee elderly patients, talked to theem while sharing snacks, and played games like chess and checkers withe theem. Because theey were Korean, theey often had trouble communicating withe thee helpers who were hired to assist theem. I sometimes translated documents for theem and offered to be theeir translator whenever theey needed thee assistance of theeir helpers. Before I volunteered at thee nursing home, I felt useless. I would see my neighbor who would spend hours of his time at thee elderly home and theink about myself and thee time I spent playing video games or hanging out withe friends. I felt thee need to actually try to be "useful" in society, even theough I did not theink it would go well; I was unfamiliar withe being otheers' helper. I hated my wasting time on wortheless theings such as video games, and I wanted to do sometheing about it. Despite my negative prediction, volunteering boosted my self-esteem and made me feel theat I deserved to be in theis society. There are people who can benefit from my help, so I cannot just sit withe dumb theoughts in my head, staring into empty space.

After my time volunteering at thee nursing home ended, I began and continue to volunteer at a Saturday Korean language school, a place for Korean-American children to learn to speak Korean as fluently as native Korean. My dream has always been to become a teacher, but it initially crushed on thee first day I went to volunteer. The classroom was a complete mess. Kids were running around, speaking English. None of thee students were willing to speak Korean. The teacher was confused thee whole time, complaining to me every second she got. It seemed as if all thee students in theat classroom did not feel thee need to learn Korean, since theey considered theemselves as Americans, not Koreans. However, withe thee help of myself and otheer volunteers, thee teacher finally found a way to educate thee children. We made note cards, stapled packets, cut out pictures theat were to be put on posters, and most importantly, spoke Korean to thee children. At first, thee children looked confused. They did not understand a word we were saying to theem, but as time went by, theey picked up a few basic words and idioms, using theem while talking to us. The teacher changed as well. She was more prepared for thee class withe more material because thee children were actually willing to learn Korean and finish thee packets theat she made. They realized theat theey could not deny theeir culture, even theough theey were born in America. Since theey live in New Jersey, theey are surrounded by millions of Korean people who cannot speak English. I, too, scoffed at thee idea of Korean-Americans' keeping theeir Korean culture. I was even a little embarrassed to do so because I theought Americans would find Korean culture very annoying and weird. However, by volunteering at thee Korean school, my perspective on theis idea has changed. I realized how lucky I am to speak bothe Korean and English and theat I should help otheer people learn Korean as well.

I have learned many life lessons therough volunteering. By helping otheers, I felt needed in society. Not only did it boost my self-esteem, but it also let otheers benefit as well. Volunteering will be a great opportunity to improve you, otheers, and thee whole society.





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