Volunteerism Changed My Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Most people think that volunteerism is a waste of time, but what I learned this summer changed my life. Being a typical New Yorker, I was brought up to lock my doors and watch my back, even in broad daylight. Who had time to help others? Most of the time, my parents were struggling to make ends meet. But this summer. I got involved with Jobs For Youth, a non-profit organization whose goal is to train and prepare inner-city kids to compete in the job market. It does this by providing summer jobs and internships. I was placed in the Social Services Department of the American Red Cross of Greater New York as a clerk/receptionist. Day after day, I saw people asking for help after a disaster, a fire or building collapse that changed their lives forever. I saw all kinds of people who had lost their belongings and even some who had lost family members. It made me contemplate my own life. What would I do if that happened to me? It had happened to these people. It made me see that even if it did, there were people who would help me too. And it made my job worthwhile - I could help these people.

This summer has totally changed my perspective on life. There are kids my age who complain about mundane things like boyfriends or girlfriends, but I have seen people with real problems that cannot be fixed with a phone call. These are people who have to start their lives over again. I had a glimpse of the REAL world and, boy, am I glad that I'm in this secure shell of naiv"t". fl


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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