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Community Service, My Love

I'm fourteen, well, barely. I turned fourteen about two weeks ago. I’m quote on quote, “mature for my age”, but I think kids my age aren’t immature, they just don’t realize the value of some things. Take community service for example. It’s one of my favorite things in the planet. My favorite is when you have a little kid buddy to tutor who looks up to you. Any kind of community service is a fantastic way to build bonds with other people, while doing work. I had overheard rumors of a community service program being put in affect at my school, us eighth graders helping the little kids. I was overjoyed, but when I talked to my teacher about it, she said that they had been trying to start it for a while. I didn’t want my senior year to go by without this program being started, because I started thinking about how amazing this program would be.

It got to a point where all could think about was how truly and utterly amazing this would be. We, the middle schoolers, could bond with not only our fellow classmates, but fellow teachers, and the little kids of the elementary school within our school. All I could think about was the memories I'd had with community service. I remembered the first friends I'd made in middle school while volunteering in the library (I, with my nerdy glasses, short brown hair, and "hippie" look and values did not fit in perfectly in my new school). I remembered my big buddy from when I was in Kindergarten and First Grade, who I had thought was a superhero. I remembered my sixth grade English teacher and how over the years I'd helped her in her classroom, and this summer with the new school she was opening; I remembered how she had seen me grow from a little tie-dye shirt wearing sixth grade girl into the well put together eighth grade young woman I am now; I remembered how I always felt like she was another mother to me. I thought that it would be amazing if we could have a program in the school that enabled kids to build the kinds of bonds I did through community service. So, I wrote a letter...

You may not think a letter would make much of a difference, especially considering people make jokes about writing a letter to complain to someone when you're upset with something. But this did. As soon as I started my letter, (which since we were doing a unit in class for persuasive letters, I got to polish my piece to perfection and get school credit) I told the principal and the guidance counselor and they got the program rolling. I wrote my letter and was so proud, but the program was started before I could send it.

We now have the program in our school, and many are complaining about it. My first day is this Tuesday, March 12th, and although I'm kind of nervous because I don't know the teacher or kids, I'm going into it with an open mind. Many of the kids don't like this program because once a week they have to give up their recess for community service. But I don't think they don't understand. They don't understand how these kids look up to them, how they are exuberant about us coming, how they think we're so cool, how they look up to us. They don't understand that we can be role models, real people these kids can look up too. I do, because I remember what my buddy did for me. She made me want to have good grades because of hers (I'm currently valedictorian), want to dance because she was a dancer (I'm in a pre-professional company). She made me want to succeed, and she still does, after eight years, we're still in contact. I think this program of helping the kids in the classrooms is stupendous, because being a mentor is a great experience, and having a mentor is something that can change your life.



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