Walking Down Another Path This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Walking Down Another Path
by C. C., S. Dartmouth, MA
My feet know the way to the Fox Point (Providence, RI) Boys and Girls Club very well. They travel there through rain, snow and sun three days a week after school. I started volunteering in January, and began running a homework help program for kids of all ages. My activity there has become a definite part of my life and something that I treasure very much.
When I first went to the club, I was nervous about meeting the kids. I'm always shy around kids when I'm first getting to know them but these kids didn't leave me any time to be shy. They crowded around, asking me questions and telling me things. One handicapped girl name Carmen was especially excited about me being there and started hugging me right away. It was on that first day I knew I was going to like being there. After the first two days, I asked the director if I could add another day to my schedule each week.
Since I've been going to the club for three months, I've gotten to know the kids better. They've become the little sisters and brothers I've always wanted. We don't always talk homework. We've had conversations about everything from monsters and nightmares to what goes on in their families.
One thing that volunteering has helped me with is learning how to be patient. I've always had little patience, except around children. After being with the kids, I've found that my patience level is a lot higher with other people, too.
What I love about volunteering is the look on their faces when they've finished a difficult assignment I've helped them with. Just knowing that I've made a difference in something they've done makes me proud. I know the sense of accomplishment I feel when I've done my homework well and I want them to feel the same way. I am especially reminded of Carmen. She'll get this incredible look on her face and give me a bright smile that shines in my heart for days. She is an especially affectionate child, always giving me hugs and kisses, and just thinking about her makes me smile.
Being at the club and being around the kids can change my whole mood. When I have a bad day at school, I always look forward to going to my club and knowing I'll feel better once I'm there. When I'm helping the kids with their homework, I forget about everything else. The kids receive my full attention and concentration (something which even my teachers don't always get).
I've found that my volunteering experiences can be applied to other areas in my life as well. Just by helping kids with their math homework, I've become better at mine. Also, when I couldn't think of anything to write for one of my classes, I found that writing about Carmen fit the assignment perfectly.
A lot of kids at school come up to me and ask me who drew the pictures I have in my locker, and I tell them about Carmen, Kerri, Leigha, Chao, Ashley and all the other kids I work with. I've started filling up a wall in my bedroom with pictures and cards they've drawn for me. Volunteering has become an integral part of my life, and it is something I know I will want to continue doing for a long time.


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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