"H.E.L.P." those who help you!

February 18, 2012
Give Back to Miami is an inspiring opportunity to “give back” to the city of Miami through community service. You can make homeless people smile by visiting Camillus House or learn Miami’s history from Reverend Dunn in Overtown. You can clean rabbit cages or touch a pony at “La Ventana de Los Cielos”, but the most rewarding activity is volunteering at H.E.L.P. Miami, a non-profit organization that works with intellectually disabled children to assure them that their learning disabilities do not define their educations. This school is filled with the most wonderful and insightful children I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with, and I feel privileged to have been a volunteer making Valentine crafts with them.

As the first group of children rushed into the classroom excited to work on their Valentine boxes, I walked over to a small boy named Drew, and his enthusiasm matched that of a child going to Disney World. As we were talking, we found that we enjoy the same show, Bakugan. I told him about the character that I found most attractive and he thought I was crazy because I liked someone solely based on their looks. When signing the Bakugan themed-Valentine cards, he gave me the one of my favorite character. As I looked at the card, I thought about Drew’s words about caring only for outer appearance, because truly on the inside, there is more than what meets the eye.

Another little angel is Jonathan. He told me of his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player and playing for the Florida Marlins. I asked him, “What would you do if you were playing for the Marlins right now?” And he responded, “Well, that’d be scary, but I would do my best and always keep trying to win!” His words brought a smile to my face as he drew a picture for his Valentine card, a baseball diamond. “I haven’t had a homerun yet, but when I do, I’ll run around a baseball diamond as big as this one.” His enthusiasm towards a sport at such a young age was invigorating. In those thirty minutes, I surprisingly learned more about baseball and following your dreams than I expected.
If one were to hear about volunteering at a school for “special needs” children, they may think it’d be a tiring or difficult time, but in my opinion, it would be one of the best experiences ever. By spending a few hours with these children, I unexpectedly learned about life and myself. From Jonathan, I learned that it’s important to follow your dreams and to never give up even when you’ve repeatedly had three strikes. From Drew, I’ve learned that looks are the last feature you should examine when considering someone, because the best traits are internal. By doing this minimester, you have the chance to help others--- and to receive some unexpected “help” yourself.

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