Tips & Advice
- 23 December 2012
- by Katelyn Darrow-Eystad
To state it simply, volunteering has changed my life tremendously. Helping others has always been close to my heart.
My earliest memory of giving back was when I was four-years-old. My pastor always spoke in church about her visits with hospital patients and nursing home residents. Me, being a nosy preschooler, begged to go with her. When she finally agreed to bring me along, I had a handful of cards at my side that were scribbled with Magic Marker stating the words “I love you!” across the paper! Sequins and princess stickers graced the cards I distributed. I remember handing people of all ages, my card and seeing the smile and pure joy on their face. Sometimes besides cards, I would give them a handmade craft too. My treats would vary from macaroni necklaces to paper bag puppets. Four-year-old me didn’t understand the impact I made on their lives at the time, all I knew was that I made their day a bit brighter and I felt extremely satisfied with my afternoon visits. My cards brought smiles and laughter to their lonely days. Making cards for hospital patients and nursing home residents was my first service project.
From there, I had a slew of bake sales and lemonade stands raising money for various causes. The emotion you feel after lending a hand and helping out is a feeling I hope you’ll experience yourself one day. I could talk about how volunteering will change your life and the benefits of it for hours, but I feel you can’t relate or agree with my claims without doing a service project yourself! From food drives to neighborhood cleanups, gather your friends and family to organize a drive or activity.
Someone at this very moment, whether it be halfway across the world or your neighbor next door, is wondering where their next meal will come. Everyday people are stripped of their basic needs, and live in poverty. A non-profit organization that I founded started from a service project. After being through tough times myself, I wanted to reach out and give back to the community that once helped my family and me. I was inspired to start The Angels Clothing Closet, where I provide clothing and more to those in need.
Being just sixteen years old and running a 501c3 organization can have its challenges, but seeing the difference I make reminds me of my passion. Think about something that you want to change; instead of waiting for someone else to step up and make a solution, YOU should! Volunteers are a crucial part of any community. Helping others starts right in your neighborhood. Something as simple as donating an unwanted item or giving your pocket of change to someone in need, can make a big difference.