"I Couldn't Leave" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I Couldn't Leave"

by D. P., Johnston, RI

"Honesty is the best policy." With this aphorism in mind, I will now tell you what - at the outset - prompted me to perform community service at the Tri-Town Johnston After School Day Care Program: the possibility of a college scholarship. "Shame on you," one might say. But, please, hear me out.

Yes, when I began my community service last November, my plan was to perform only the fifty hours required for a certain scholarship, then to leave the program, something that is easier said than done. It must be understood that no matter what one's ulterior motives are, once community service is initiated, it's a hard thing to stop, because it really does make you feel good inside.

The day I reached the fifty-hour plateau, my first instinct was not to exit Tri-Town, for I realized that I couldn't leave. While at times the kids could be very demanding and irritating, I actually enjoyed what I was doing. (This was an enigma even to me, because normally I am not "good" with children.) So, for all the right reasons, I decided to stay until a couple of weeks before the program broke for summer vacation.

Will I return next year? I am not sure. the '93 - '94 school year will be my last in high school, and this year I have many more responsibilities than I did last year. But who knows what the future may hold? I now know two things, though. One, I know never to do community service solely because a certain scholarship application requires it, because you probably won't get it. Two, and most important, I know that those kids at the Tri-Town After School Day Care Program managed to reach into a heavily-guarded, seldom entered part of my inner-self: my heart.


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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