Student volunteers share experiences

Students are always finding ways to keep themselves occupied. Whether they are part of a club, involved in sports, have jobs after school, volunteer or a combination of various activities, students like to find other activities to indulge in outside of school.
One activity that a majority of students participate in is volunteering. It gives them a chance to give back to their community while also fulfilling graduation requirements. There are many opportunities for volunteers to choose a location that best fits their personal interests.
Senior Jordan Lewis volunteers at the Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital. Lewis works with the individuals in the unit and also assists the physical therapist and staff.
“I work with mostly patients. I am kind of like a peer-partner for a social skills group for a group of boys about my age. I am there for that peer interaction and I also help the therapist with whatever they need, like if they need papers or need something cleaned up,” Lewis said.
Volunteering at the local hospital is one of many ways that can allow students to work with children. Sophomore Daisy Gonzalez spends her time volunteering at Karshner Elementary School tutoring the kids in Spanish.
“I like going to Karshner because you get to work with the kids and it is fun. They are pretty funny. You get to sit with them, one-on-one. Each tutor has a little group and the teacher will teach the class and you can help them with the activities, if they have questions and things like that,” Gonzalez said.
Volunteering not only gives students the ability to help others but it can prove to be a rewarding and memorable experience for the volunteer as well. Lewis shares her most notable moment with one of the kids she works with.
“I work with this one boy who is autistic and he is super sweet. He goes and says, ‘Jordan is a pretty lady.’ Then I was not there for a while because I was involved in basketball and the first day I came back, he said, ‘Jordan is a pretty lady’ and it was so cute,” Lewis said.
Many people that get the chance to work with children truly enjoy their time as a volunteer. As a volunteer at Annie Wright School’s summer camp, junior Neil Reyes spends a substantial amount of time with the kids involved in the program. Reyes feels that there a lot of things that can be learned from them.
“It is the kids that make the experience great. They make it so much more enjoyable because they have imagination. They are so much fun to play with. All they do is have fun. They do not worry or think about anything negative. They only think about having fun in that moment,” Reyes said.
Being involved in volunteering can be satisfying and gives individuals a chance to give back to their community. Teacher and Key Club adviser Jessica Anderson explains ways in which volunteers can get the most out of their experience.
“From what I have found with Key Club is that if you want to volunteer, volunteer someplace where you find some joy or happiness. Volunteer where you are interested because if you volunteer for something that you do not want to do, you are just totally dragging your feet. You are just there because you have to do it and you are not going to get anything out of it. The people are just going to feed off of your negative attitude,” Anderson said.
Anderson continues to describe the importance of picking a location to volunteer where students possess some interest. This results in creating an optimistic environment for both the volunteer and the community.
“Make sure you pick something that you are interested in, whether it is at a business because as you help out you, are also learning about how businesses are ran. If you enjoy working with kids, get involved at elementary schools,” Anderson said. “You can help and tutor, help them with sports or activities. You will be able to feed off of their energy and learn from them. It will be a positive experience for you and for the people that you are trying to help. I just think it is really important to give back to your community.”