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One of the simplest ways that I gain satisfaction from life is by dedicating my time to a cause that I feel passionate about. Community service, in particular, offers numerous opportunities for me to utilize my talents to aid those in need of guidance and extra help. I decided to volunteer for the SPCA and the Ithaca chapter of United Way because of my undying love for animals and because I cherished the tight-knit community of United Way. The people who help with these programs are fellow members of my church congregation, and they are constantly willing to discuss the merits of helping all living creatures. Instead of being a burden, I discovered that serving others is an enjoyable experience if I found programs which catered to my interests. Among my numerous commitments to community service, these programs impacted my character in a positive manner and allowed me to feel proud of my accomplishments.
Throughout my time of service to the community, I had the opportunity to reinforce talents that I already possessed, and I even had the fortune to develop a new set of skills. By assisting abandoned and lonely animals, I became a more empathetic person, which aided in my daily relationships with both my furry friends and my human companions. Additionally, this volunteer opportunity allowed me to destress and momentarily forget all my problems, since spending time with animals miraculously transformed me into a happier and more content individual. However, the whole ordeal became a lesson about responsibility and flexibility for me. This change increased my flexibilty and patience, and it made the experience more unique, allowing me to meet people at various age groups from different schools and areas of town. Overall, the opportunity granted me a chance to broaden my horizons.
Although I have partaken in numerous volunteer activities in previous years, I often found myself dreading service projects this year. Continual pressure and stress concerning my academics, my college applications, and my future heavily burdened me. I still volunteered and aimlessly rushed from activity to activity, but I did not receive the fulfillment that I hoped to find. This was when I decided to make time for one of my biggest passions: animals. Whether I am walking dogs, feeding cats, or entertaining birds, I feel radiant when I am around animals. Therefore, I decided to volunteer at the SPCA, a place I used to work at and a place that feels like my second home.
From addressing hunger and food insecurity to donating 9,600 backpacks of food to children and their families, I enjoyed every moment of volunteering at United Way. The impact that I had on the lives of these young kids and the grateful smiles that their parents flashed towards me when their children received backpacks of food for weekends and the holidays was priceless. Nothing else could match the glorious feeling I got from making a difference in the lives of these children. Furthermore, it was through my work that I reconnected with childhood friends and became inspired by their ideas for impacting the world. For instance, one of my junior high companions biked across the country to raise money to combat poverty and hunger. The ecstasy of the children I helped along with these amazing stories made my volunteer hours a worthwhile experience.
Likewise, helping out at the SPCA also allowed me to transform the lives of other living creatures. For me, this program represents one of my first experiences with volunteering and it is this fact that makes the program so special to me. It excites me to see the happiness of other people who join the program realize that they want to allocate time for more community service projects. I also felt important and satisfied because through my service, I alleviated some of the duress and discomfort of these mistreated animals.
Even though community service is designed to help others, I often felt as if I benefited more than the people that I helped on many different levels; mentally, spiritually, and characteristically. I enjoyed the balance of a diverse, yet tight-knit group that focused on facilitating the lives of others. These experiences also helped to build character and leadership, transforming me into a more patient, responsible, and flexible person. I gained an opportunity to share my talents and positive qualities with a younger generation so that I could spark their interest in becoming an asset to the community, and to me, getting this opportunity is absolutely priceless. By learning to help others, I learned to appreciate myself and my actions at a more profound level.
Although the assignment is completed, my inclination to serve others has not faded. I will still continue to help others in the community regardless of where I go. This experience has helped me to cherish my ability to influence and impact others in a positive way, and it helped me to look at community service as a benefit for myself, instead of just another obligation I have to fit into my schedule. Even though I have participated in many service projects over the last few years, I failed to really immerse myself into the true meaning of helping others.
However, as I continue to do more for my community and discover hidden lessons within community service, I treasure my ability to help others. Community service brings out attributes within me that I never realized existed, challenging me to become more patient and caring, and encouraging me to strive towards being a better person.
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