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Community involvement. It never can get better than getting involved in your own community. Just to know that you are helping your community become a better place. One action at a time. From picking up a little piece of garbage to starting a non-profit organization with aims to assisting the homeless (with food, water, shelters, or other related items in which they might need), it all makes a big difference. It is all just one domino in a long domino chain. If one of the dominos are not there, the desired effect might not take place. Therefore, I love getting involved in the community often. I feel as if I am doing one of the functions required for a healthy community. While I was volunteering at different Good Will stores and Salvation Army locations, I found they too wanted a healthy community, and that’s why they do what they do. Let’s talk about that.
Working at Good Will may have been the best decision I could have made. I know I am forced to get these community service hours, but honestly, I feel as if it is aiding me more than I could have ever imagined. The employees (people who got worked at good will for a living) were always so happy. Have you ever seen a movie taking place at a hotel? Isn’t odd how all of the hotel staff seem so happy to greet the cast? This same feeling, was the feeling you felt when you walked through the doors at good will. It was not Wal-Mart. The employees did not dread (at least so it seemed) needing to go and work on their scheduled days. Barbara, the manager, was always eager to assist the employees and her customers. Overall, Good Will gave me a great life experience, but Good Will was not the only good experience I received during community involvement.
Working at Salvation Army was a blast as well. It was quite like the work in which I did at Good Will. While working here, I got to use a cash register, and I was one foot off the ground. Being that I am six-foot-tall, I do not believe that was a very smart idea. Every time a customer would come up and ask me a question of come to check out, I always felt awkward because I would be towering over them. It was a feeling of power, but I did not want it at the time, nor need it, so it was just awkward. For four hours, I was stuck looking like a giant. It was weird, boring, and mostly dead. However, I did see the need. Salvation Army had better deals, and I feel like it was aimed more towards the homeless rather than just poverty alone. It was a long, but good experience I gained while working at Salvation Army.
While working at both stores, Good Will and Salvation Army, I felt this feeling of community. When I was working there, everyone seemed to need something. They did not just want something, like when you want a new shirt, they needed something, a shirt, pair of pants, or even shoes. You got so involved. I was often wondering, should I ask them about their situation and see if they needed cash, food, a place to stay, or things of the sort. Sadly, it would look bad on the business, and potentially they would refuse other volunteers. Either way, I understood, I have an amazing life. I see those in the community, realize I have a great life, and I start wondering: how can I now help those in need. I did receive more experiences than the feeling of community.
I also felt a great sense of joy from the workers. They did not have to be there. They could have called off that day. They were not forced to wear a smile, care about the customer, or genuinely try to make sure the customers had a great experience, but they did anyways. It made me question my own customer service abilities. I feel rather than faking a attitude, the employees were actually happy. Which is amazing. You are at work, spending a lot of your life helping others, but you are not mad or sad, instead you are happy? That is pretty astounding. I always dread work. Even when I love what I am doing, there is this sluggish part of me that says, “let’s not.” It was just so refreshing to see others happy to go to work, it lightened up my day!
Overall, it was an amazing experience. I feel my time working at Good Will and Salvation Army was well spent. I also feel that without this experience, I may of missed out on something huge. Yes, though I did give back to the community, I honestly feel like the community just gave more unto me. I would recommend getting out there in your community, and getting involved. You never know where it will take you!
Childhood poverty is a major nationwide issue. The average family in poverty lives on less than $24,000 a year. Without adequate clothing or shoes, children face unfair obstacles where they don’t feel valued. I knew I wanted to get involved and make a difference in my community.
During the summer of my junior year of high school, I spent my time volunteering at an amazing non-profit organization, Cradles to Crayons. Cradles to Crayons provides children who live in low-income circumstances with essential items such as clothing and shoes.
A volunteer shift in the factory involved hands-on distribution of items for children on a daily basis. The tasks included sorting, inspecting, and packaging donations at various stations. Once the items were fully packaged, they were ready to be sent off to a special child in need.
Although the tasks varied each day, the energy in the factory remained the same. Volunteering at Cradles to Crayons allowed me to connect with others and meet new people who share similar passions. I enjoyed working with some of the nicest, most caring individuals.
The experience taught me empathy, compassion, and teamwork. Working with people whom you’ve never met before can be intimidating at times, but it helped me strengthen my communication skills and grow as a person. It helped build character and leadership, molding me into a more patient and responsible individual.
At the end of the shifts, the volunteer leader would announce how many children we helped that day. It amazed me to see how such a small act can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Donating two hours of my day to help children who need it the most is nothing but worthwhile.
My volunteering experience at Cradles to Crayons taught me the importance of gratitude. I started to appreciate all the things I have in life-food, clean water, a home, family-and serving others is a reminder of what truly matters to me.
I will continue to give back to others in my community no matter where I go. This experience helped me cherish my ability to impact others. Community service brings out qualities within me that I would have never realized existed and inspired me to strive to be a better individual.
To see the smile on a child’s face makes it all worthwhile. To know that I’ve made a difference, no matter how big or small, is truly rewarding. The fulfillment that occurs when helping others is the reason why volunteering once is never enough. I look forward to continuing my community service at Emmanuel College.
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