Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – The Importance of Volunteerism

Name: DeVonnah Bridges
From: Albany, GA
Grade: 12th
School: Albany State University
Votes: 0

Importance of Volunteerism

Volunteering was something that my parents had always deemed as something of importance ever since I was a little girl. They continuously reminded me that I would need to have some type of community service hours so I could get into college but also it would allow me to do an act of kindness and give back to my community in some way of fashion. I began volunteering for different thing when I was about 10. I volunteered in an adult day center. Basically it was a day care for senior citizens who had diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I chose to do this act of volunteering because you really don’t here of young people volunteering in places like that. Typically, you hear about us going to homeless shelters, daycare, park districts, town halls, etc. I wanted to do something that was different.

I did about 12 hrs./year for about 3 years at the same adult day center. I built relationships with some amazing people while I was
there. A lot of them witnessed me grow up, it was almost as if I had another family when I was there. As a volunteer, my duties were to
assist the senior aides with maintaining the wellbeing of the senior citizens (making sure they were fed, didn’t have to go to the
bathroom, etc.), file and organize documents, and assist with organizing activities. My biggest challenge as a volunteer was my
age. Starting off as young as I did, often times I had to always have supervision because they were afraid I would make a mistake. I am a very fast learner but they did not realize that until I had gotten older. Being able to put a smile on the senior citizen’s faces was
my biggest satisfaction. I was very pleased to be able to make someone’s day. If I didn’t take anything else for volunteering that the adult day center, I learned how to humble myself to serve others. I learned that you never know how your attitude toward someone could either make or break their day (it’s okay to smile).

Looking toward the future, I think my volunteering was an act of forward looking because I learned how to communicate with older people in a work environment, and I learned some very good skills that I have been able to use to this day. Forward looking to me basically means that you are prepping yourself for anything to come in your future. A change that I would like to see foster in the world via my volunteering is to see more young people volunteering in more places like I did. Actually give back and cater to the elderly, the ones who built our foundations.

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