While most of my classmatesrelax and watch TV on their days off, I go to a hospital and volunteer. Lastfall, I started a collection of goodies for the hospital where my mom works. Mostpeople donate toys to Children's Hospital, but I was looking for a place wherepeople don't donate much. We collected toys, books, crayons, videos, coloringbooks, noisemakers, pinwheels and anything else we could to give to the pediatricward. As we wheeled the cart full of donations down the halls, people thankedus.
When we got to the floor where we were supposed to drop the items off,the woman I had talked to about our donations came to greet us. Her jaw dropped -she had been expecting a few boxes, and there we were with a full cart, plus moreboxes! She thanked us, then took us to a room to meet one of thepatients.
Samantha was 13 years old and preparing to move to theChildren's Institute for physical therapy. She had been in the hospital because adrunk driver hit her car. Her grandmother, brother and she were all injured. Samhad trouble swallowing and speaking; she could only talk in a whisper. When shewent home, she got severe headaches, so she came back to the hospital, where theydiscovered she needed brain surgery.
Samantha told us that be-cause shewas in the hospital again, she couldn't go to the *NSync concert she'd planned toattend. JC, one of the members in the band, was her hero. She couldn't wait tosee him, and was heartbroken. JC's aunt read an article in the paper about Samand came to talk with her. She gave her photographs signed by *NSync and showedher home movies of JC.
While we were talking, Sam showed us her ladybugBeanie Baby. She told us she liked ladybugs, and later we painted pictures ofthem on the windows by the recreation room just for her.
Sam told us hergoal was to get home by Thanksgiving. Her determination was amazing. She knew itwould take a lot of time and work, but she was willing to do whatever wasnecessary to be home for the holidays. She proved that if you believe inyourself, anything can happen.
I'm glad I spent my day off helping insteadof sitting at home. I really made people's days happier, including mine.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.