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Tips & Advice

The Gift of Giving

Being a VolunTEENNation.org Ambassador has given me the opportunity to reach out to my community in so many ways that I have never thought possible. In association with VolunTEENNation, I am also a part of an amazing community service organization called KIWIN'S, which is under the branch of Key Club International and is sponsored by the local, generous Kiwanis Families in our neighborhoods. My position in KIWIN'S is being Projects Chair of a division called Jet. This includes handling the responsibilities of devising monthly service projects and activities at each DCM for all the members and leaders of KIWIN'S.

For our Halloween-themed DCM, I had an idea about a way to give back to our community: giving back to the children who needed the candy more than anyone else. Those children were the ones who could not leave their bedside at Halloween, missed the fun adventures of what is deemed a “childhood,” because they were sick or unable to go due to a medical condition. Our group publicized the event over social networks for about two weeks prior to the event and planned a three-hour event filled with community service, craft-making, DIY projects, icebreakers, games, and so much more!

About 40-50 students came to a small elementary school park in Fountain Valley, CA and worked sedulously (and had fun while doing it, of course!) at creating goodie bags filled with candy and unisex toys galore for the toddler and child patients at CHOC Hospital. They were divided into different stations and worked in groups to accomplish the task (i.e. Putting candy and toys in bags, wrapping the candy bags with ribbon, etc.) We created over 60 goodie bags for these children! What a great turnout!

On the day before Halloween, I drove with my mom over to CHOC Hospital and handed these bags to the ladies at the front office. Upon receiving a gift receipt proving what I had donated, I came home to receive an email from CHOC Hospital thanking me for creating this project. Knowing I made a small difference in the lives of those children before Halloween and made them smile for a few carefree seconds is a feeling I will never forget. This is the first project of many more that will come, and I hope all you VolunTEENs out there are taking action in your community. The gift of giving never stops giving.