The Importance of Volunteering
by K. F., Wolcott, CT
It was three years ago, and I was entering my freshman year of high school. My parents and I were sitting in the living room watching "America's Funniest People." Everything seemed fairly normal until my mom reached for the TV Guide. She lost her balance and could no longer speak. It was not clear to me what happened. It was so quick! I remember hearing the ambulance and looking from my aunt's window, where I was sent. The tears poured from my eyes as it drove away. I later found out that my mother suffered a severe stroke, necessitating a long hospital stay. I was devastated! I felt like my whole world had been turned upside down. Nothing hurt me more than visiting my mom in such a somber environment. I hated the hospital, the waiting, and the fact that my helpless mom was forced to stay there. Fortunately my views changed thanks to some very special people. Every day I saw volunteers in the hospital lending a helping hand or speaking an encouraging word. They were always there when someone needed them. I was so impressed! I spent the next summer volunteering at that same hospital. I wanted to give back to the volunteer community what it gave so unselfishly to my mother. I have been volunteering ever since. I honestly believe volunteering is far more important than material things. It builds character, self esteem, and is a terrific learning experience. Not to mention a blast! I wish you could see the look in a child's eyes when you have helped them to win a game, or the joy received when you have taken a walk with the elderly. It's remarkable! Volunteers are a vital part of all communities. I would like to encourage everyone to volunteer. It's not only an important learning experience, but a special way to lend a helping hand and more importantly ... your heart!!!
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.