The Daycare | Teen Ink

The Daycare

December 13, 2007
By Anonymous

Last summer, when I could have been at the beach or in the mountains, I chose to go out to a not so popular recreational are by the name of Louisville, Kentucky. Instead of positioning my feet into the warm, white sand or diving into a crisp, cool mountain stream, I was voluntarily working at a nearby daycare for deprived children in the city. Though the situation would seem to be min-humbing, it was actually mind-humbling.

As I exited our van to enter our new home for the week, I told myself that the week of giving up my vacation time was going to be worth it. Somehow though, the thought of the beach just couldn't erase itself from my mind. The whole night I was thinking of why I was really here, and I was quite disappointed with my decision. My mindset changed the next morning around 10:00 when the little children showed their faces for the first time at the daycare.

When I saw their facial expressions, I could tell that they lived a different lifestyle than I did as a child. Some were scared to show themselves, others were pretending to be a member of a local gang, and others were attached to any person they could reach because of the lack of a family outside the institution. I immediately understood why God called me to this very daycare; I was called to become a role model in children's lives, so they could grow into mature, God-loving adults unlike their parents. At the conclusion of the first day, my attitutde towards the trip changed from being unenthusiastic to being excited about the possibilities to come.

As the week progressed, my relationship with the young ones grew closer, even the ones who cried as they were forced to introduce themselves to me opened up. I realized that these underprivileged children were no different than me, I had sterotyped people who may appear to be a little different than me. On the last day of our work, the little ones and I all gathered and simply conversed for about an hour about life, home, and the future. It amazed me that all of them had a difficulty in their families and many of their parents were put in jail for gang-related activity. I would not have figured this out if I was not aware that the daycare was actually an assisted living home for troubled people of all ages. After the conversation and good-bye time was over, I left for the hotel and packed my luggage in the van. Then we embarked on an 8 hour journey back home.

During the 8 hour ride, I reflected on the week's activities. I recollected my thoughts of wanting to be at the beach and was amazed at how much I was changed in 5 days. My mind was opened up to many children that, if I was not forced to talk to, I would have ignored and sterotyped. Also, I came to the conclusion that anyone can be a great person no matter what background or ethnic group he or she belonged. My week of volunteer work at a daycare in Louisville was a humbling, heart-opening experience that I will always remember because of the little children that forever impacted my life.

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