Volunteering has always been something close to my heart. I’m not exactly sure why but it started with people telling me it looked good on a college resume. After getting accepted into college, I decided to continue volunteering because it gives me a lot of experience in life – you can also gain work experience without having a job. I suppose you can say it’s for selfish reasons, but nonetheless, I try to give back to the community whenever I can.
Why I Started Volunteering
When I was 12 years old, someone told me that she had over 1,000 hours of community service. I remember thinking it was something I wanted to try to accomplish as well! She was someone I looked up to. One of the places she suggested for me to volunteer at was a hospital. Back then, I wanted to go into the medical field so that would have been perfect. However, I couldn’t find a ride to volunteer since my mom was a working single mom.
Gaining New Experience
I started volunteering when I was in high school. Grey’s Anatomy was one of my favorite shows and they often talk about Alzheimer’s. I wanted to learn more about dementia, so what better way to learn than through a first-hand experience? Well, not really first-hand, but I was a volunteer at Alzheimer’s Association. For a while, I was working at one of their chapter offices. It was very simple tasks – I did mostly paper filing and composing educational folders for caregivers. I was never in charge of picking up phones because I was very young. I met other volunteers and it was a great learning experience.
Hearing People’s Stories
One of the volunteers at the Alzheimer’s Association was an older man whose wife died because of Alzheimer’s. I learned a lot from him and why he decided to dedicate his free time to the organization. A lot of volunteers at the office were a lot older than me, so it was always interesting to learn people’s stories.
Found an Organization I Was Passionate About
While I did enjoy my time learning more about dementia and volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Association office, it wasn’t something I felt like I could relate to. I wasn’t able to work directly with caregivers because I didn’t have the experience.
During my first year of college, one of my classmates volunteers with an organization that teaches kids how to skateboard. I love skateboarding and kids, so I decided to reach out to the organization. Skate After School is a non-profit organization based in Phoenix, Arizona that brings skateboarding requirements to schools in lower-income districts.
I’ve been with them for 3 years now and I love the program.
Being a Mentor
After being with Skate After School for a while, I realize that I love being a mentor to others. It makes me happy to see kids in the program grow over time, whether it be developing new skating skills or becoming more comfortable with others.
I never really had a mentor growing up. Additionally, I wasn’t a great mentor for my little sister either. As a result of that, I created a blog because I wanted to use it as a platform to be a mentor for others. I wanted to share my journey with others who are interested in similar things.
When I first heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters, I was in my junior year in high school. I felt like I wasn’t mature enough to be a mentor back then. It was probably a good choice that I didn’t sign up for the program because I ended up moving 2 hours away for college. Years past and I stumble upon Diana’s blog about her Little Sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters. I knew it was a sign to sign up for the program.
After 6 months of waiting for a Little, they have finally found a match for me!
I’m so excited for this new journey with my Little and definitely plan on featuring her in my blog in the near future. She’s just as excited as I am!
What are some things you do to give back to the community?
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