me

Turning ‘required community service hours’ into something great

Growing up, I never did more than the minimum required community service hours for whichever high school club was requesting it at the time. I had never done real volunteer work until entering into higher education, although still only to meet the minimum required. That is a completely different issue that I’ll save for another day, but my main issue is that, when I did start volunteering regularly, all I heard from my peers were complaints.

It was: I’m too tired, it’s too early, this is hard, this is a waste of time, I’m bored, I’m hungry, this sucks, or any combination thereof. It was ceaseless complaints and body language/attitudes that screamed “I don’t want to be here.” Of course not everyone is like that, and I have greatly altruistic friends. But the haters were so apparent and so oblivious to what they were saying.

My two reactions: 1) Is it really so painful for you to spend two hours helping someone? 2) If you cant do a few required service hours for an organization that you chose to join, then quit.

I organize volunteer opportunities and spend every Wednesday evening at Ballard Community Center, a local low income preschool. At first, I volunteered to check the boxes on those required hours, but I grew to love it. I love making crafts and spending time with the kids; I’ve loved watching them grow and getting to know them. I paint and color scribbles with them, although not tangibly beneficial, it gives them an opportunity to express themselves, use imagination and practice social skills. Bottom line: it is so much fun.

So people! Recognize the amazing things that lined up for you to even be able to offer your time and effort. Use your ability, privilege, brain power, whatever it is, to do good! It won’t hurt you, I promise. Be positive and come in with an open mind, and you just might end up enjoying yourself.

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