Voulunteer to Grow

March 28, 2012
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Community service can make the environment a more clean and friendly place to live. While serving the community, individuals can become closer to their peers and build new relationships. In the summer of 2010 I had the chance to work with the YouthWorks organization to do community service in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. YouthWorks is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994. YouthWorks allows teens and adults of all ages to come together and give to a community during a short term mission trip. Pawhuska is not my personal community, but in the short time I was there I saw how individuals could band together as a group and make Pawhuska a better place to live.
In Pawhuska, I was able to scrape old paint from a house, prime, and repaint the house. On the first day we started scraping off the layers of old paint. Layer upon layer slowly fell to the tarps on the ground. Next, we sanded the wood in preparation for the priming coat. Step by step we were fulfilling the disabled homeowner’s dream. To some people painting a house does not sound substantial, but from the pure joy in the homeowner’s eyes you could tell how much this meant to her. Different groups from YouthWorks did a variety of other projects. The oldest boys were in charge of yard work for the community. They went to several houses mowing the lawns and trimming trees. One group painted the rooms of a local church. Throughout the week at Pawhuska around eighty-five middle school and high school students helped clean up and restore the community. The best part was watching the reactions of the local people and seeing their happiness spread.
Another element during the week was volunteering as a leader at Kid’s Club. Kid’s Club was a day camp set up for the children of working parents. The children came from around the city to participate in crafts, games, and story time. Leading Kid’s Club allowed for relationships to grow in the short time we were there. The children of Pawhuska wanted to be given your full attention. One little blonde haired girl came running at me one day. She strapped onto my leg and looked up at me with big blue eyes. She said “Hi, can you be my best friend?” She hadn’t even met me yet, but the little girl was already so friendly. During reading time she would sit in my lap and asked for me to her a story, during tag she would chase me, and at art on the last day she colored me a picture and wrote “I love my best friend”. On the last day she asked me to come to her birthday party next month. My heart broke because I knew I was leaving the next day and I had to turn her down. The elementary girl had looked up to me for the past week, and I was glad to be given the opportunity to get to know the children I had been working with.
Volunteering allowed me to grow and look at life with a positive attitude like the small blonde haired child had. After volunteering I learned to be grateful for what I have. Now, I make sure to thank my parents for everything they give me. Leaving Pawhuska, I knew even in rough times a community can pull together and have positive attitudes to turn things around. When painting the house it was soon learned that working as a team allows for tasks to be completed faster and much smoother. Community services really allows for an individual as well as a community to grow in many ways.

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