Rethink Your Choice To Serve
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Rethink Your Choice To Serve

How volunteering changed my life

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Rethink Your Choice To Serve
Students' Union

Everyone has a hero they look up to. Whether that hero is Mother Teresa or Superman, they have this person as an inspiration in their lives. Even Batman reveals, “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy's shoulders to let him know that the world hadn't ended.” Some may be thinking: what does Batman have to do with volunteering? As Catholics, we are called to be heroes to everyone in this world. This was one of the lessons I learned while volunteering through my parish, Ascension Catholic School.

Although I did my service project through Ascension, I was very lucky because there were multiple times where I was able to actually go to places outside of their building and see the visible difference that I was making: something I believe that heroes look forward to most. I was able to work at to two food kitchens, Saint Mary’s and City Union Mission. One of which I served over 300 people. It is truly humbling to see how many people need our help. One of the best things about serving at food kitchens is that you get to work face to face with the people you are assisting. After assisting with serving the food, the Ascension leaders in charge of the volunteers allowed me to give Tootsie Pops to the children that came through the line, and just seeing their bright eyes fill with joy when they set sight on a small piece of candy made my experience there so much more rewarding. Most people wouldn’t think that such a small treat could give someone so much joy, but these people do not realize how much they have. Working at these kitchens made me realize how much more grateful I should be to have so many privileges. I feel that volunteering is not only helping those in need, but also in a way helping yourself, because it improves your own character into a better person. To be a hero, one must be humble.

At first, it may seem, that my experience was all perfect and fruitful. It definitely was not. I came into my stewardship with a not-so-perfect disposition. Working at a school that you were forced to attend every day for 8 straight years was not my ideal situation. I was thinking that I would just be doing busy work for the teachers, and do not get me wrong, that may be nice for some people, but not me. I am the type of person who would rather go out and get my hands dirty (metaphorically of course). Though I did have to spend many hours in the building I was very familiar with, it was not in the way I expected. I had the opportunity of working fundraisers for the Church with Mardi Gras and Marketplace. Since my mom is head of the Food Committee, I was already well identified as “Thu’s daughter”. I got to work with my supervisor, Jean, whom I had known since I was a young child. Having these previously built relationships made it easy for me because I was very comfortable. However, I knew that deepening relationships with the people I already knew would allow me to get more out of my service. When I worked at Marketplace, a fundraiser in which vendors come to sell items, from soap to fudge, for Ascension parishioners, I brought along my friend, Rebekah, who was glad to come volunteer with me. Rebekah and I were in charge of setting up the food. This definitely was not my first time setting up, because, like I mentioned before, my mom was Head of the Food Committee. I used this time to deepen in my relationship with my friend, which made volunteering much more fun. When I volunteered at Mardi Gras, I had the opportunity to rekindle the relationships that I had with people whom I used to know through my previous school. The work at Marketplace was not so easy going because I had to wait tables, which required a lot more running around. After I served food and drinks, they needed me to help with check-outs and entering donations. Even though it was a lot of computer work, I was happy to be there and speak to the supporters of Ascension. I was sitting next to a boy that I knew slightly from Ascension but he was a grade below me. I got to spend time relating with him and it made the time fly by a lot faster. From my volunteer at Ascension’s building I learned that having an open disposition allows so much more to be gained from the experience. My mindset was not the best starting out, but I worked on it and ended up getting so much more out of it than I expected. I think that the struggle is what made it so much better. Sometimes heroes have to struggle before they fly.

I once heard a quote that said, “The Gospel is the only story in which the hero dies for the villain.” I’m not quite sure why, but this phrase really stands out to me. We are called to be heroes, taking after the example of our ultimate hero, Jesus who is unlike any other. John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” One of the ways that we can carry out our faith is by serving others, mimicking what Jesus would do. So although your hero may be Batman or Superman, mine is for certain Jesus Christ.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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