Friday, September 23, 2011

Kindness Does Matter

One thing I have gotten to enjoy more and more as I get older is community service. Not everyone enjoys it, but I do because it gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that I helped someone in need. After I do it, I always feel good because I know if I were in need, I would want someone to help me, just like I helped them.

Every year my church gets involved in various forms of community service. For the past couple of years I have been involved in a reading camp at one of the local private colleges. We meet with kids from one elementary school in town. For the past couple of years it has been with an elementary school where they are struggling to give their students a good education. The school is not located in the best area of town, so therefore the kids need extra attention and help. Typically the students I mentor are from third to fifth grade. I have had really good readers that just need extra attention, and I have also helped kids that are not very good readers and need help with becoming better, as well as the need for extra attention. Even though this camp only runs for five days, I have formed a bond with each child I was mentoring. At the end of the camp, you can see their transformation that they have made in that little amount of time. It is amazing! You also see an attitude change within them. I believe that this is because someone is paying attention to them and making them feel loved. Even if they do or don’t get the love they need at home, they have somewhere else to go for that week where they do get positive attention. This camp is important to them, but also to us, the mentors because we feel a sense of accomplishment and it makes us feel good that we made an impact on their life.

Recently, a teacher I had my freshman year of high school and that I was a teacher’s assistant for during sophomore year had a stroke. He and I had a love-hate relationship when he taught me as a ninth grader, but we became better “pals” my sophomore year. I was always there if he needed help with his teaching materials or for organizing. He and I formed a special bond that no one else had. When I first heard that he had a stroke (while in school) I was immediately worried. So later that night I had the greatest idea! I took three of my other friends that he also had as students to the hospital to go visit him. We knew he didn’t have any family in town besides his fiancĂ©. Therefore, we wanted him to feel good and make him feel loved-because he was! We went to the gift shop in the hospital and bought him flowers, a balloon and a card that we all signed. We weren’t sure what kind of condition he would be in so we didn’t want to just pop in his room. We went to the nurse’s station and she gave us permission to go visit him. We walked in, and the look on his face was a look of confusion. At first, we weren’t sure if he knew who we were, but sure enough he did! It was so weird seeing him in a hospital bed, but it was so good to see him knowing that he was all right! A little bit after we were there and talking with him we asked if we were the first ones to come and visit him, his response was “Yeah, but I am not surprised that it was you guys!” Then he started to get a little choked up which made us feel so good that we had touched someone so much to the point where they got emotional. A little later, we walked out of the hospital after saying our good-byes. All four of us were to giddy and bubbly because we felt like we had done something so kind and nice for one of our teacher friends!

Recently, my show choir at school has been getting involved in community service projects. We have only done a couple, but we know getting our name out there will lead others to ask for our help. Helping someone in need is one of the best things you can do for someone. It makes them feel good as well as makes you feel good. It helps them to know that there are people out there who care and who will help them. If everyone in the world would help someone, the world would be a better place. A place full of love and kindness.

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