Name: Caitlyn Chu
From: Amherst, Massachusetts
School: University of Massachusetts Amherst
My passion for volunteerism is displayed through my experiences. In
high school, I was part of several volunteer-based clubs, including
Habitat for Humanity, Glamour Gals, and the Silver Linings club, and
took part in several community-outreach events. Each community event
I attended was to build my character and appreciation for the blessed
life I live. One of the most memorable moments was my first Midnight
Run; with my church family, we prepared and served meals to the
homeless people living in New York City. The connections one can
build with face-to-face contact is rewarding and unforgettable.
I am privileged to say I took part in two missions trips: one to
Trujillo, Peru and the other to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Both of these journeys were the best experiences of my life.
Together, with my youth group, we travelled to these impoverished
areas and built the foundation to a new church, sidewalks, and living
facilities. We also had the opportunity to teach Bible lessons and
play with the children living in the communities. On my most recent
trip to the Dominican Republic, my youth group organized a pick-up
basketball game for those living in the area. To our surprise, the
entire community came to support and play. People were cheering for
both teams, and everyone had a smiling face. Knowing that their
compassion is genuine and that they appreciate my presence and
service, is the most satisfactory feeling. Volunteering reminds me
that the most important things in life come from the interactions and
relationships you have with others. The context from where you come
from is trivial, but rather the content of your life is what is
The biggest challenge as a volunteer is evident: saying goodbye. The
truth from the people I met, the stories shared, and the connections
built, stay close to my heart. From my experience, mental
preparedness is of equivalent significance to physical readiness. I
met the most appreciative, inspiring, and genuinely happy people—they
motivate me to continue my work in other communities.
My work and love for helping others continues at UMass Amherst. I am a
board member for the club MEDLIFE, an organization aimed to help
families achieve greater freedom from the constraints of poverty,
while empowering them to live healthier lives. MEDLIFE organizes
trips to impoverished nations where members improve access to
medicine, education, and community development. I attend meetings and
participate in events in our local town. I look forward to helping
people through the MEDLIFE program, and hope to attend several trips.
In a way, community service is a form of vacation: taking a break
from your ordinary life and experiencing something different. I hope
to share my stories with people in my community about these trips,
and to inspire them to go serve. Volunteering is not only a gain for
the people you are serving, but a rewarding gain for yourself.