Name: Peter Yang
From: Berkeley, California
School: University of California, Berkeley
“Now that is a wonderful stingray. Let’s put the finishing touches to
it!” Motioning towards the markers, I smiled whilst patiently
waiting for the child to embellish the final product.
It had been a long day, but I knew that this moment was crucial. The
parents knew it too.
“And it’s done, Momma!” beamed the ecstatic child, placing the decor
on the table, before proceeding to gesticulate in boundless joy. She
had allowed imagination to take the wheel and—overtly satisfied
with her creation, had started to imitate the actual movements of the
creature itself with her arms.
Having completed my job as overseer of the Summer Arts program at the local
Aquarium, I breathed a sigh of relief and happiness. Volunteering at
the Marine Sciences Center was tiresome, but so worth it. Tiresome—
well, for the obvious reasons, but worth it because I felt I had
fulfilled a duty. As a volunteer in this program, I felt a
responsibility towards my “clients” in shaping their creative
future. Why? Well— being in a position of influence, I noticed that
many of the children I met lacked the opportunity for imagination to
flow; therefore, it was only inherent whilst volunteering that more
incurred to the eye than one simple arts & crafts creation.
Engaging in small talk with each child’s parents, I’m often surprised with
how little opportunity arises for their children to engage in such
activities. They often cite work, among other activities in
preventing the opportunity to stimulate creativity. Maybe other
day-care nannies—along the idea of movies or something called the
“iPad” triumphed in decision-making. I don’t know. But whatever
factor it may be, this apparent void brought more purpose into my
volunteerism because although they couldn’t provide the various
arts & crafts needed at an early onset of life, I had the
opportunity to do so with my summer program.
Whether or not this experience actually leaves a mark on their career choice
of the future is uncertain. However, whether or not they had the
opportunity to potentially explore their creative side is more than
likely to be certain. By simply exposing them to creativity, by
taking them through the gates of imagination, their perspectives have
So looking back at over 476 hours of service— accumulated over 6 years,
I’m glad I was able to take part. I’m glad that I was able to sow
the seeds for creativity in others. And looking forward to the
future, I realize that someday— regardless of whatever job I take
up in society, I will set aside some time to give back to the
community. Someday I will ensure the seeds of imagination for my own
children and their peers. So— overall, when I look back at the
memories created at the Aquarium, I will surely say that this
activity definitely made a difference. It left an imprint on my
understanding of how important creativity is and the need to foster
it in the lives of young people.