Name: Brianna Perkins
From: Huber Heights, Ohio
School: Dayton Regional STEM School
The Trauma Dolls
When I first started volunteering, I did it for clubs such as Key Club and
National Honor Society. However, the longer I volunteered, the more I
became invested. The moment I realized that I wasn’t just
volunteering for the hours was during my sophomore year of high
school. I was stuffing trauma dolls in a church which I had never
been, with people I had never met. I was sewing, which I was never
truly good at, and talking to people, which I was also never truly
good at. I spent hours there that day, stuffing, sewing, and talking.
I met new friends and made dolls for children whose faces I would
never see. Helping them in an unknown way made me feel so good, I
never wanted to stop. So, I never did.
I started volunteering at places for long periods of time. At Crayons
to Classrooms, I got to see teachers get what they wanted for their
students without a single charge. I spent much of my time there,
nearly 17 hours in one school semester. While there, I got to see
teacher’s happiness and gratitude, which in turn made me happy and
grateful. I came in every Monday and Wednesday and helped bag school
supply items and make journals that a child would someday use in a
Throughout the years, I have volunteered for a number of organizations and met a
wide range of people. As someone with social anxiety, it wasn’t
always easy going into a foreign building or meeting with unknown
people. Sometimes, I wanted to turn on my heels and go home at a
record speed. However, something always made me change my mind. And
that was those children with the trauma dolls.
All I would think about were those children, scared for something that
they could not change, and about to undergo something that is even
terrifying to me and many adults. I would think about them, gripping
those trauma dolls that I had stuffed and sewn with my own hands. I
think about how, maybe, those trauma dolls made it to a child who
really needed it that day.
In conclusion, I didn’t start volunteering because someone told me how
amazing it would feel or that I would meet some of my best friends
volunteering. I started volunteering, selfishly, for hours for clubs.
Yet, if I could tell myself before the clubs, before the needed
hours, I would tell myself to do it—to get out there and help
someone. Helping someone anonymously didn’t just help them, it
helped me. I don’t believe that I was committed to volunteerism. I
believe that volunteerism was committed to me, as strange as it might
sound. Helping me overcome my fears, making me feel better in the
darkest of times, volunteerism never gave up on me. In the future, I
don’t intend on giving up on volunteerism, either.