Community Service

April 1, 2010
By Kaztap24 GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
Kaztap24 GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Let the horse racing begin!” I shouted as the residents sat waiting for my instruction. This slow but steady race between old, worn-down cardboard horses was about to reward a resident with a handful of nickels and me with a lifelong rewarding experience.

I volunteer at The Arboretum Retirement Home, where once a month we have our own version of horse races. Each resident bids a nickel hoping their horse will win the race. I walk around giving everyone the chance to roll a neon yellow die as they shout their number in anticipation. I then move each horse accordingly, and reward the resident whose horse crosses the finish line first.
This simple game is much more than a handful of nickels. It provides an escape from the realities of life for two hours each month. It is my pleasure to make them feel young again while having a genuinely fun time.

Throughout the night, I think how lucky I am to have this experience. Growing up, children have grandparents to offer words of encouragement, wisdom, and kindness. I have the opportunity to entertain and listen to over 20 wise grandparents. This makes me 20 times stronger, wiser, and more confident.
As the races end, the thanks begin. Each resident makes a personal effort to say kind words and praise me for the “hard work” I have done… Work? Two hours of fun, laughter, and shouting at inanimate cardboard horses is not work. If anything, I should be thanking them.

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