Name: Janae Gustafson
From: Ethan, South Dakota
Grade: High School Junior
School: Ethan High School
Volunteering is one of the most important actions a human can make. It not only helps someone else, it also helps the own person’s self-esteem. One of my favorite forms of volunteering is with young kids. I spend about fifteen hours of volunteering per month with young girls in an all-girls running club. I spend every Tuesday and Thursday morning
from the middle of August until the beginning of November/end of October with girls grades three through six, running and learning Bible verses. I would run alongside and encourage the girls to push themselves in their running and encourage them to grow in their faith in God.
Even though volunteering can be very fun, it does always come with a few challenges. When I was at this running club, I would always run into a few kids that were very stubborn and would not want to push themselves in their running. It was a challenge at times with some girls that would get extremely upset and not run, while others would fight the odds and run no matter what. I learned through this that not every person is the same. You need to encourage & lift others up all the same, but for some, you may need to give an extra push. I also learned, some people take criticism and effort differently. Some
girls like it when you don’t talk to them while they run so they can focus. Others liked it when I was running with them and talking about anything but running. Before I began volunteering in this club, I hated running. I am a strong athlete, but I never liked to run on my own. Now, I thoroughly enjoy it. Yes, I may not be a fluent runner, but I know if these young girls can do this, I can too.
In my own words, forward looking means that your actions and efforts not only make today better, but the coming future as well. As I volunteer in this girls’ running club, it not only helps these select individuals that are in it, but it also helps future
generations of girls that are coming up to run and stay active. Being active and running isn’t really a growing trend these days. But through the work of running clubs and other fitness clubs, we can make this world excited to get active and have fun with it. I know in ten years, this running club will still be around in my small town of Ethan, South Dakota because parents and kids are loving the opportunity. It not only reaches out to young girls, but to their families as well to stay active. In the coming years, I hope to stay active and healthy. This club and my volunteer work with it, has helped me set that goal and has put some ambition in my heart to do so.