People are always telling us to "Get out there and volunteer!" or "Make a positive difference in this world!". In high school and college, especially, this is something very difficult to see. Where I have grown up, most kids are given everything they could ever want and don't take notice to how blessed they truly are. It isn't hard to help someone struggling or use your free time to make a positive difference. I always remind myself when something goes wrong, that I am blessed and life could be far worse. And for many people, life is far worse, being without a home or being hungry might just be the worst it gets...
Most of my college classes have been intimidating, but one, an elective involving HDFS (Human Development and Family Studies). This class introduced me to a new passion. For fifty points we had to volunteer in the community for 5 hours, but my "assignment" turned into a hobby and new perspective on life. I decided to volunteer at the Lansing soup kitchen with my grandma who lives here in Michigan. I figured it would be a good way to give back and it was something I had never done before. Plus it seemed like a unique idea compared to what most were choosing like picking up trash around campus.
The experience was humbling and inspired me to do more for people in need when I am able. We cooked and served food for homeless veterans and families in the Lansing area. What stuck out to me most were the children struggling in the shelter with parents who feel like they have no hope. One single mother specifically, has seven kids and her son, Quan, helped us in the kitchen earlier. Quan made a big impact on my life and he is one of the greatest kids I have ever met. He is only six, he loves to help his mother with his siblings and cook in the kitchen at the shelter. This family, like many are allowed to live in the shelter for a period of time until they can find stable housing. Fortunately, I was able to experience this family receiving news that they got a new home, all to themselves, thanks to the community.
I have been back to the soup kitchen bringing homemade gift bags for all the kids and once with warm hats for the winter. Along with me I brought some friends and people interested in helping at the shelter and kitchen. Every person there shows respect and they are grateful to have people supporting them and contributing to what they need most. This is something I'm very passionate about and how I choose to make a difference in my college community. If I was able, I would seriously take in all the homeless and hungry kids in the world. But for now, this is how I can contribute and I am excited to do more for the shelter and kids this year.
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