Since the start of freshman year, I have collectively “clocked in” about 260 hours of community volunteering. My volunteering ranged from helping the elderly at a local nursing home, to helping elementary students with homework at after-school programs, and assisting with church retreats. In addition, I just completed a week-long missionary trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where my group and I helped care for and play with young children at a local orphanage. While volunteering, I have seen many children whom I've assisted grow into intelligent young adults, and while helping with the elderly, I have noticed the great amount of joy and happiness that they experience during my visits.
For example, while volunteering time at a local nursing home, an elderly man and I were playing cards. We were playing Go-Fish and he was having a great time. After the game ended, he thanked me for spending time with him. I could tell the he was truly happy that I was giving up my time to make his life a little more joyful. After thanking me, he proceeded to tell me about his life and at the conclusion of his story he said that he, along with many of the other residents living in the nursing home with him, are extremely grateful for what I do. They appreciate that I take time out of my busy life to spend time and hangout with them, most of which are very lonely and never have routine visitors. When I heard him tell me that, I felt a great sense of gratification.
Additionally, my week-long adventure in the third world nation of Haiti brought to light that I could have a positive impact on a person with whom I didn’t even speak the same language as. My missionary group’s assignment was to help clean, feed and entertain the children at the local Sisters of Charity Orphanage.
After helping feed infants their morning meal, it was time to play with the young boys on makeshift swing sets near a grove of trees. Having babysat before, I knew the easy part was...