Volunteering can brighten your life in so many ways! There are so many opportunities out there to choose from.
In High school over the summers I worked as a Camp Counselor. Yes, we did get paid, but the pay was very minimal compared to what could have been made at a regular summer job. The monetary gain might have been minimal, but the other rewards were priceless.
Having heartfelt conversations with children. Ones that were scared, ones that had bad home lives and felt like they could trust you enough to open up to. Seeing the sparkle in a child’s eye when they swam for the first time and cheering with them. Feeling the joy when a child who had broken the rules all the time, turned the corner and thanked you for not giving up on them. Yes, I still remember that hug and the smile that spread from ear to ear across that child’s face.
It was a stretching experience as we would always have a week of having the mentally handicapped come to Camp. I can say that was one of the most exhausting and wonderful weeks of the summer.
There are still campers that I remember in my mind. A older man who was short like me, totally bald but had the biggest smile all the time! He only said a few words but his personality was so catching. He was known as the camper who could hold his breath for a CRAZY amount of time under water. He gave us a scare in the beginning, but we learned. He just loved to float in the water.
Then there was the sweet lady who walked in baby steps, there was no hurrying her. She took in everything she saw as she was walking,not like us who get so busy we miss the roses as we rush by. This lady saw each rose, each butterfly and each penny that laid on the ground. Every time she did she would rub her hands together and smile as she let out squeals of excitement. How could you not stop and embrace the moment with her. Her excitement was contagious.
Last of all, I can’t forget the camper from that week that serenaded me with a song during the Talent Show that we always have at the end of the week. Yes all week he had called me his girlfriend, but I had no idea that he was going to dedicate a Elvis Presley song to me! “Love me Tender”, still makes me think of that memory when I hear it! My cheeks don’t get as red anymore, but I still remember it. 🙂
After High School I chose to go to South Carolina for a year and volunteer as a Teacher’s Aide at a Elementary School. Our living expenses were taken care of . It was a group of 10 of us that lived in a house and volunteered at different places in the area. I could make a whole other post about that year, but suffice to say for now, that it was one of the best years of my life! I didn’t earn a penny, but my heart was filled with the richness of new friendships and other things. A year I will never forget.
One Christmas a few years back we went and delivered meals to the ones who couldn’t make it to the Soup Kitchen. To see how happy they were over a simple meal, I know left an impact on my children. It made a impact on me.
The impact that volunteering can leave on you is what you can’t put a price on.
Take the time to volunteer, it is something you really won’t regret!