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The Beauty of Life

Name: Derek Yuan
From: Carmichael, CA
Grade: 10
School: Mira Loma High
Votes: 1

The
American populace is aging rapidly; current projections estimate that
25% of the population will be older than 65 by 2060. Yet when it
comes to elderly care, much is still lacking. Often, the elderly are
relegated to the back of our minds and consequently forgotten, though
nearly everyone has had a guiding and influential elder in their
life. For me, my grandparents were an instrumental element of my
childhood. They cared for me, cooked for me, and played with me. But
most importantly, they gave me love when others couldn’t. As a
result of my enchanting childhood, when the time came to choose an
area of volunteering, I instantly knew where to go. I would dedicate
my time towards volunteering at senior living centers.

For
the past two years, I’ve dedicated parts of my life towards
volunteering at the Eskaton Senior Living Center in my community.
Typically speaking, I would come in two times a month, working 3-4
hours at a time. While volunteering, there were, unsurprisingly, the
typical volunteering responsibilities, such as helping set up
activities and events. But what I really enjoyed the most was getting
to interact with the elderly, one on one. Many of the residents had
extraordinary backgrounds, from World War II veterans to prominent
singers. And I had the rare opportunity to get to know many of them
as individuals. Before volunteering at Eskaton, I had come to
subconsciously group all senior citizens into one homogenous
category. But my experiences volunteering showed me that each one of
them were interesting in their own ways, with unique histories that
deserved to be respected and appreciated. Another aspect of
volunteering that I really enjoyed was performing for the elderly. I
play the accordion, so I knew that it would be an exceptionally
superb way to brighten the days of the seniors, seeing as it was a
popular instrument for many of them during their youth. Every once in
a while, and on special occasions, the volunteer coordinator would
invite me to play the accordion. Many of the residents told me
afterwards that my playing had evoked fond childhood memories for
them. For me, volunteering at the senior living center really showed
me the power and warmth of giving.

The
volunteer work that I am currently doing will undoubtedly have an
impact on people’s lives. I’ve already been able to witness
firsthand the improvement and joy that I have been able to give to
the elderly residents. For me, the idea of forward looking means
being dynamic and looking towards the future. The work that I’m
doing at the senior living center is definitely considered forward
looking for many reasons. In the future, it is very probable that I
and many others will be spending the rest of our lives in a senior
living center. The volunteer work that I am doing now is a precedent
for what others should do in the future as well. The elderly are a
vital part of our lives, and many have made a lasting contribution to
the world. Thus, it is only our duty to return their goodwill. The
spirit of volunteerism is one that all should strive to embody.