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The Power Of A Helping Hand This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Power of a

Helping Hand

by Paula G., Hockessin, DE Ever since I was young, I have loved children. Their cheerful, carefree attitude and innocent behavior amaze me and make me smile. Since I was twelve years old, I have been baby-sitting and loved it. Last summer, I decided to put my desire and love for children to work; I applied to volunteer at the local children's hospital.

After many intimidating interviews and hours of training, I was hired. I walked into the hospital on my first day expecting to be treated like a surgeon. Needless to say, I was wrong. I reported to the volunteer office and was assigned my first task - delivering meals to bed-bound patients. Partially disappointed, I obeyed. Although I felt my love for children was wasted delivering food, I soon found that my five-minute visits with the patients made a difference.

To my surprise, I found many of the children waiting outside their rooms, anticipating my visit. Before I knew it, the kids were asking me to stay and talk as they ate. After socializing with many of them, I was sad to hear that over half of these children receive no visitors except me. When I heard this, my heart sank.

I remember one child in particular. His name was Tommy. Tommy was nine years old and had AIDS. As I got to know him, the doctors warned me that he might not have much longer to live. I remember hearing repeatedly, "Do not get too close. Before you know it, he will be gone." These statements did not discourage me from being there when Tommy needed me. I asked myself, Without me, who would he have? No one.

As the days went on, Tommy became extremely weak. There was a point when he lost the strength to open his eyes. Although Tommy could not see me, he knew that I was there. One afternoon, I walked into his room, more excited to see him than ever. Tommy was not there. The sheets were fresh, and his Nintendo was gone. I ran to the hallway and asked the first nurse where to find him; surely they had moved him. The nurse stared at me, pain in her eyes, and before she said anything, I knew what had happened: Tommy had died.

For nights I cried myself to sleep. I wondered how such a horrible thing could really happen to such a wonderful child. After much thinking and growing, I have come to realize that although Tommy's death was one of the hardest things that I have ever encountered, he was one of the best. Through this, I have realized how much of a difference one person can make in someone's life. Since that summer, I have continued to volunteer at the hospital and look forward to each "work" day.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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