Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Just One Call at a Time

Name: Megha Andrews
From: Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Grade: 12
School: Egg Harbor Township High School
Votes: 0

Today’s students have become experts on multi-tasking. Every teenager seems
to be doing homework, texting in various group messages, on social
media, and listening to music all at the same time. Perhaps this is a
result of the mindset of our upbringing: you must be an all-rounded
student in order to succeed. While this creates innovative thinkers,
often, dedication to a task is lost in the process.

I have been a volunteer at Contact Cape-Atlantic making telephone calls
a couple times a month to the elderly and disabled since the summer
before my freshman year. I loved it from the start. There is so much
joy in so many of the people’s voices when they receive a call. For
some of them this is one among many phone calls; for many, it is one
of the only calls they receive.

Once I had gotten into the routine, I began to realize that I get some
free time in between calls. As a natural multitasker, I began to
bring work to the office to do between calls. I brought homework and
my laptop on which I could type up the agenda for a meeting of a club
at school or mentally review the choreography of a new dance that I
have been learning. Unfortunately, for a brief period of time my
shift became a time to make calls in between my work rather than do
work in between my calls. During this time, Contact became simply a
part of the long checklist of things to do for eventual “success.”

It took me some time to actively make the decision to dedicate
one-hundred percent of myself to the calls while I was doing them,
but the changes were tremendous. After a few full-hearted shifts,
some of the people told me stories about their past and their current
relationships, or lack thereof. I no longer recognized them as a
phone number at a certain time but really came to know each of them
by their own personalities and stories. With this, many of them
started to remember me as well, and often we can continue a story
where we left of the previous week.

Perhaps the most rewarding moment of all of this was when I called a client,
gave her my regular introduction, and she responded with, “I was
hoping it would be you.” More than two years later, this is still
very much etched in my mind. It was at this moment that I understood
the euphoria people describe when they mention service. This joy so
fully encompassed me and has pushed me to become a better volunteer
not only as a Contact volunteer and Board member but also everywhere
else. We may have become masters of multitasking through our
obsession with finding the formula for success, but the comfort I
have been able to spread as a volunteer who gives one-hundred percent
to each individual task at hand continues to be an accomplishment
that I am incredibly proud of.

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