I love helping people. I know that sounds cliché, and possibly fake, but it’s true. I will go out of my way to help someone bring things to their room, walk someone across the street and babysit at the last minute. I enjoy it immensely, and get great satisfaction when seeing the individual’s reaction. Smiles, "thank you"s, "god bless you"s. I would soak them in as if I were a really pale person trying to get a tan. I absolutely loved it, and would actively search for people whom I could help.
Back home in California, I was part of an organization called Assistance League. It’s a nonprofit organization that is centered around offering dental care to those who cannot afford it. The organization has a thrift store that raises a ton of money for the dental office, and it has several smaller organizations as well. Kids on the Block performs small plays with puppets, and they teach kids about being healthy, friendship, the difference between right and wrong, etc. Another group makes care packages and holiday packages for those families who have children fighting and surviving cancer. A group of girls go volunteer at a homeless shelter and serve the homeless food, give them donated clothing, and help organize the house.
My favorite section of Assistance League was definitely Operation School Bell (OSB). It is an event that allows underprivileged families to get their children school uniforms, school supplies, and books. Sometimes the families would have one child, other times they would have six, and other times it could be any number at all. Some of the families spoke English and others spoke Spanish, and I fortunately had the knowledge to communicate in both. It was fun to interact with the kids and figure out what their interests were. Since most of them would walk in in soccer uniforms, it was pretty easy to find something common to start a conversation.
It was my second year as an Assisteen when I came across a little girl named Maria. She was in a blue soccer uniform with her hair in braided pigtails, and she was crying. Her mom said she was embarrassed to be here. I bent down to the little girl, and took her hand in mine. We went from section to section, gathering clothes, notebooks, and colored pencils as we went along. Maria’s crying subsided during our interactions, and she even started replying to some of my questions. When we got to the book section—the last section—Maria ran up to me and demanded I read to her. It was Little House on the Prairie. We went to the corner of the room and read the book for a couple of chapters. When it was time for Marie to leave, she took my hand and led me to the car her parents were driving. She told me to bend down to her, and when I did, she gave me a hug. Maria came into OSB crying, but she left with a happy smile on her face.
It’s these moments that inspire me to continue community service while I am in college. If I can help make someone’s day better, then I will try to do it. I give back to my community because it has given me so much and I have had the privilege of living the life that I do. When I came to Emerson, I decided to join an organization known as Imagine. It is all about community service, with children, animals, the earth, etc. I am very excited to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to see the reactions of those I help. There’s just something about seeing a smile on a face that does not smile enough.