Name: Victoria Gibson
From: Harker Heights, Texas
Grade: Sophmore (10th Grade)
School: Harker Heights High School
The defining points of my High School career have been my time
helping the Elderly Community in Harker Heights, Texas. I have
always viewed volunteer work as a necessity rather than just an
extracurricular. In such I make sure to maintain a constant presence
with said group. After all one day in the future I will be an elderly
My original philosophy with my volunteer work is that the elderly
people helped me first. The world I live in today is because of the
sacrifice and work the people of this generation did. People
generally avoid the aging thinking that they cannot do much, because
of this I have made it my mission to remind them that I still care.
As it is my senior year now I have noticed a sharp increase in school
work which has required me decrease attendance at the retirement
facility. Whereas I used to spend upwards of fifty hours a month at
the home I now volunteer about four hours a month with these people.
Which I have to say is one of my biggest regrets of my education.
Volunteer work is essentially synonymous with being a job hopper. In
the years that I have volunteered with the retirement home I have
taken part in multiple diverse tasks. There have been days where I
have moved from cleaning rooms to story time to handing out lunches.
It is an amazing experience that I would never complain about,
however there are some sad parts of the ‘job’. One evening, around
Christmas time, one of the older men confused me with is deceased
wife. After dancing with him as he had requested, I am proud to say I
had to sit in the restroom and sob my eyes out. When I was finally
able to leave the room without crying the man was stood out the door
the happiest face I had ever seen. He gently took my by the hand and
becan walking, eventually he turned to me and said, “I know now
that you aren’t my wife, so thank you for dancing with me. You have
made this Christmas special for me.” Although this event
happened to me in the seventh grade I will forever remember it as the
best moment of my life.
As a whole the lesson I have learned from volunteering with the
elderly is to never discount their knowledge. Some of the most
important things I have learned in life have come from old ladies in
bathrobes and slippers. These people that have been put into homes
and forgotten by their families have fought the wars that have made
America free and labored to strived to pull todays citizen at the top
of the world.
Often times people mistake dreamers for fools, but dreams make plans
and plans make the future. Looking forward means realizing that
today’s struggles make tomorrows successes. Through volunteer work I
hope to see a future where the elderly are once again remembered as
champions of history rather than expensive inconveniences . Because I
live in a small town actions have a long-term impact on our society.
My activism wil hopefully make retirement homes a place for the aging
community to meet and socialize. Rather than the elderly equivalent
of a dentist appointment.