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Making a Difference

I have always loved to do community service. Ever since I was little, I have wanted to make a difference in the world. I have never felt that it was fair that anyone should be less fortunate than I am. That is why I chose to spend part of my summer not how some other eleven year olds might like to spend it, such as hanging out with their friends or going to an amusement park, but by doing a few service projects.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of those people around me, little by little.

One of the places that I volunteered this summer was an organization called Project Backpack. When I went to help out there, a volunteer assigned me to a gender and an age group similar to my own. Then she gave me the list that matched up with them. After that I was on my own. I picked out a colorful peace sign backpack and started filling it with the items on the list. This backpack will later go to a kid whose mother is fleeing from domestic violence. Sometimes this is all that this kid has, so I picked out the cutest stuffed animal, the strawberry scented hand sanitizer, and the prettiest pencil box. I wanted to make these backpacks perfect.

A different day I switched from children to the elderly. I love to visit my friend Beatrice at the nursing home where my great-grandmother used to live. I met Beatrice, my computer solitaire and Mah Jongg buddy, one day a couple of years ago and have been playing games on the nursing home computer with her ever since.  Even though she is not really related to me, she feels like a grandma when she greets me with a big hug, smile, and her usual, “We’re going to go to Vegas one day.” Then we head off to play some Mah Jongg on the computer. The next week I came back to play some special nursing home bingo. When she wins she tells me that I have brought her luck.

My final stop for the summer on community service lane was at my synagogue. I have always held a particular interest in helping the homeless. There is a local homeless day shelter near my synagogue. The children go to school during the day or if they are too young they will stay at the shelter while the mothers try to find a home and a job if they don’t have one. Then the women and children rotate to different churches and synagogues to spend the night. This program is called Room at the Inn.  Once a month they stay at our synagogue. I like to come play with the kids and give each of them a teddy bear from my closet to hold onto for when things get tough. Then I sleep over with them, make them breakfast in the morning, and drive back with them to the shelter.  I have been doing this for several years. I love to see the looks on their faces as I push them in a toy car, race them on a scooter, or hand them their very own teddy bear.

I plan to keep doing community service all my life. I want to keep changing someone’s frown to a smile or making their lives better in some way, from filling a backpack with a puppy folder to giving an elderly lady a hug to handing a homeless kid a bear. I want to keep changing the world, little by little.