Volunteering is something that everyone should do as often as they can. It’s a great way to help your community and the people in it, as well as helping yourself along the way. One of the best things about volunteering is that there is no set place where you have to go and spend your time - there are tons of places that would love to have some help.
I have been volunteering since I was fairly young and it has helped me to find several causes that I care deeply about, as well as helping to shape my future. One of the first places that I volunteered was the Luke 14 Banquet, a local event for people with special needs and their families. Each guest is paired with a buddy, the volunteer, and they go around the grounds of Manley Baptist, a local church, to play games, see animals, and just have a good time. My first year, I was a nervous wreck. I was scared that I would say something insensitive or mess up in general. I wasn’t old enough to be a buddy on my own, so my mom, younger sister, and I escorted a guest together. Our buddy was a young girl and she was so sweet and she had so much fun that I couldn’t help but have fun too.
After that year, things came easier and I wasn’t scared anymore. When I was old enough, I started being a buddy on my own, and I have many great memories from Luke 14 every year, as well as the two camps that I was able to help with. Camp Celebrate and Joni and Friends Camp are both also for people with special needs and their families. I would advise anyone who is able that they should help out with events like this. Even if you’re nervous or scared, there will always be people there to help you out if you need it and it’s an amazing experience with lots of amazing people.
Since going to college, I have been lucky enough to get the Bonner Scholarship, which allows me to do a lot of community service while I’m at school. I work mostly at the Blount County Library. It is a fantastic library that truly has the community in mind with its programs and exhibits. Volunteering there has allowed me to meet a lot of interesting people that I would never have had the chance to otherwise. For example, I once met a Finnish man who was one of the funniest, kindest people that I’ve ever gotten the chance to speak with.For my next few years, I’d like to keep up my work at the library, but I’d also like to do some volunteer work outside and maybe in a few new places. Overall, whether you care about nature, kids, the elderly, homelessness, or animals, there is a place that needs your time and your help to make a difference for that cause. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences that a person can have, so find a cause that you care about and jump in - it's always worth it.