What volunteering does for others – and for me.
Volunteerism. Every day people do work for others, some without ever realizing it. For some, it might mean going first to present an essay in class, but for others it might mean flying to another country to help those in need. Regardless, volunteering is an act of stepping up to give something to others.
Everyone has a history of volunteering. It can go from the simplest act such as holding the door open to handing out food. When I hear the word volunteerism, I think of the volunteer work I have done with my family. I have volunteered to serve food to homeless people in a downtown kitchen. Sometimes, this was the only meal they had all day. However, the most memorable volunteer activity has to be my mission trips to Mexico. There, I volunteered to take part in the construction of homes for impover-ished families. I participated when I was ten years old and, again, two years later. Each time was an exciting adventure, in which I helped families grow. With every act of volunteerism, there is a rewarding feeling knowing that I made a difference for people — strangers who later became my friends.
The feeling after volunteering is nothing compared to the impact of volunteering. Before I volunteered, I never imagined how helping people could inspire them. When I helped build a house in Mexico, the family had a safe place to live and a whole new world of opportunity opened up for them. Because of the place they live in now, the parents can go to work and the kids can go to school, without worries of homelessness. Knowing that someone is out to assist you is far more valuable than any material possessions.
Another important aspect of volunteering is fi nding a cause that you believe in strongly and to which you want to devote your time. After seeing how people lived in Mexico, I only wanted to help them more, to lift them out of poverty. A true sense of wanting to help others is what makes a dedicated volunteer.
Volunteering can make you a better person. One of the lessons I have learned from volunteering is not to take your life for granted. What we have in our lucky community is not always available to others. I have also learned to be kinder and more willing to help others. Finally, volunteering has helped me work better with others. When people work together toward a common goal, they learn to handle the challenges of working in a group.
Volunteering is important in everyone’s life. It shapes people to be better role models and helps get work done. Being part of the future generation, I think it’s time for people to get involved in helping their communities — close to home and around the world.
Cameron Knurek, 13, lives in Fishers, IN, with his family and two dogs. When not volunteering, Cameron enjoys school, art and swimming.