I do community service through St. John Ambulance. We attend many sporting and leisure activities to provide first aid to the injured. We meet once a week in the cadet division (ages 11-16) for first aid training, interest badge work and lots of fun. At sporting duties we are able to attend a wide variety of injuries and illnesses from fractured limbs to asthma attacks. It's a great experience and a chance to get to know lots of new and interesting people that perhaps we otherwise wouldn't know. We don't do it for recognition or because it will look good on our resume. We don't do it because we're saints (as many a parent will testify). We do it because we enjoy it and it is a way of repaying the community, and indeed the world.
Sadly many young people in the wider community fail to recognize this, and one of their more polite cries is "Who would work with blood, for no pay, on weekends?" On this note almost every member of the cadet division has been ridiculed, teased, or taunted at some time or another. It's just not "cool" to be doing something worthwhile. This certainly belies the fact that there are many narrow-minded individuals out there who will hopefully one day need urgent first aid. I strongly believe that this detrimental attitude is not confined to just my area of community service but rather on the whole to those young people aiming to change the world. Perhaps we never will. Some may argue "it's a passing phase" but there are some of us who aim for high marks, who study hard and party less.
Perhaps those of us who endure the uncoolness of our lifestyle will one day lead the world forth - toward peace and happiness. We're not asking everyone to go and become missionaries or monks, just for acceptance by a sometimes uncaring world. But now I'm off to the "goody-goody" taunts with hope for a better world in my heart. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.