Name: Emma Riddering
From: Novi, Michigan
School: Novi High School
Smile for All
many people can say they have had the opportunity to make an impact
on people who have vastly different day to day lives. Instead of
dedicating my time volunteering in one area, I choose to spend a few
hours every few Saturdays with a wide range of people that I would
ordinarily not spend time with. With, my
church youth group, I’ve helped children, the elderly, imprisoned,
disabled and mentally handicapped through various coordinated
started when I was in second grade and my youth group leader
organized an outing called the “Rake and Run” where everyone
drove to elderly or disabled people’s homes to take care of their
yards by raking the fallen leaves. Sometimes, we were even fortunate
enough to meet the homeowners, many of whom didn’t have many leaves
but were lonely and longing for youthful faces to talk with. Many of
the older people even cry because they are so happy. I have done the
“Rake and Run” every year since, along with most of other the
monthly outings. In years to come, I would like to continue this
tradition with my family and hopefully with my future children.
I really like raking, my favorite event was one where we went to a
girls prison around Halloween. I was a little scared and anxious but
once I began talking and laughing with them I realized they were more
like me than I could ever have realized. We ate caramel apples and
shared ghost stories around a fake fire. Some of their stories where
a little outrageous and I’m not sure they were true, but
nonetheless it was entertaining and an enjoyable time for everyone.
By the end, they were asking us when we would be coming back because
they were sick of “old people coming and reading the Bible”. We
truly brought a smile to their faces and left a lasting impression by
changing their daily routine.
are just two examples of the many volunteering events I have done.
I’ve grown to appreciate all differences in human lives. The
various abilities and needs of people each Saturday forces me out of
my comfort zone, but it keeping me on my toes and ultimately yields
the same result; a smile on their face and a glowing in my heart.