going from no career, to volunteering

July 21, 2011
By kerri chao BRONZE, Oakland, California
kerri chao BRONZE, Oakland, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Thank you for applying, we appreciate your interest in ____________, but we do not have a job that fits your description.” Is what I’ve been hearing since the beginning of May. It’s now July and I still can’t find a job. Face it, I’m a seventeen year old with no job experience and I’ll be starting school soon. Sigh….I still have one more year of high school left. I haven’t given up on finding a job yet, but I’m putting my boring summer time before senior year, to good use. Instead of sulking in the corner of my room, I’ve been volunteering at Habitat for Humanity every Wednesday, Thursday, and sometimes Friday of each week.

When I first volunteered, I was just doing it as a replacement for not having a job. After giving up more than 40 hours of my life to volunteering for Habitat, I realized that it’s not bad volunteering. It’s a good way to waste time, help the community, give back to the world, and build your resume. I learned a set of new skills like building a cabinet, how to paint a house, the correct way to use a power drill, how to put sidings on a house, and even how to work a price gun. And to top it off, my old skills have been polished. My communication skills weren’t bad, but they weren’t good either. Now I greet customers with a sense of pride and understanding. Who would’ve thought that I could get so much from of working for free! Not only am I gaining experiences, but I am also forging friendships between myself and others. There are so many people I’ve met while volunteering and so much things I’ve learned from them. There’s the crew at the Restore and the team leaders at the build sites, then there’s the volunteers themselves. The workers taught me the things that I needed to know to get the job done, as well as lessons on life itself. And volunteers, who become a regular face that I can call a friend.

One of my favorite reasons why I volunteer, and the one that makes me feel like I accomplished something in life, is the smiles and tears of joy on the families’ faces that we have helped. On the build sites, we, ordinary people who get together, help build houses for families with a low income, so that they can truly call a place home. It’s always worth it to see your hard work and dedication come to life when you pass a house that was once a field of dirt and wild grass.

I am so grateful for everyone that I have met on behalf of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Sometimes I forget that I’m the one helping, giving my time and effort that I’ll be thinking how lucky I am for having such hard workers working for me. It’s amazing what Habitat for Humanity does for the community. I love the restore, because I think it’s such a good thing for the environment to reuse old things and the community, who gets the items for a good price. As someone once said, “what a person thinks is trash, is another person’s treasure.” The build sites are also wonderful, because of (as mentioned above) the contribution to the community as a whole. Even when I do find a job, hopefully in the near future, I, for sure, am still going to be volunteering every chance I get.

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