Name: Carissa Giuliano
From: Levittown, New York
School: General Douglas MacArthur High School
I’m going to sound like the cliché Miss America: I love volunteering. I love helping people. I love improving my community, and knowing I’m making a difference. These phrases have been heard many times, but that doesn’t take away their sincerity. I started volunteering at my local library when I was thirteen years old. I found out they held a program called the Teen Advisory Board (TAB for short), a group of teens who brainstorm ideas for the library’s young adult area and help at library-run events. I decided to join; as an avid reader, I took any excuse I could get to spend more time at the library. Over the years, I’ve helped at countless fairs and events at the library through TAB. I remember my most challenging moment as a volunteer was when I was helping out at a children’s cake decorating event. There were two boys there who had special needs, and required extra attention and understanding. At the time, I was quite inexperienced with helping children with disabilities; but I was not, and I’m still not, the type to shirk a challenge. I did the best I could to help the boys, and, in the end, they told me they had a great time at the program, and their mom thanked me for all my help. This immediate sense of gratification from the boys and the mom is the reason why this situation has also given me the most satisfaction of all my volunteer work. I overcame a challenge, and helped people in the process.
Volunteering has taught me that it feels incredible to know I am helping people and making a difference in their lives- seeing someone smile because of something I did evokes a feeling of such joy in me; I am destined to do it again and again. Volunteering has also been a learning process for me, and if there’s one thing I like more than volunteering, it’s learning (again, this sounds cliché, but that doesn’t make the words any less true). I’m able to learn about people, and see how events are run. All of this aligns with my career path- I want to become a Physics Teacher. This profession has elements of both learning and giving back to the community, which are the two most important things I can do with my life. My main goals of volunteering, as aforementioned, are to feel good and learn, but also to urge others to find the same joy in volunteering that I have. I want my volunteer work to have a “pay it forward” effect- I do something good for someone, who in return does something good for someone else, and so on and so forth. This is how my volunteering is “forward looking” – it is intended to continue to exist and improve itself well into the future. Many years from now, I will see that my volunteering has caused communities to become closer, with all its members involved and committed to helping one another.