Developing a passion for helping others through community service
By Logan Beasley and Special to the Community Times
Feb 25, 2015 | 11:10 AM
My appreciation of community service started out as a requirement to fulfill service-learning hours in order to graduate high school. But after volunteering for the first time in 2011 when I was 14, I just couldn't stop.
I enjoyed the experience of meeting new people and the general good feeling I got from helping others. It feels great to give back and feel like you are making a difference.
It's one thing to think about changing the world or the environment you live in, but it's another to take action. Being an active member of your community is a great way to give back and make a difference.
In ninth grade, I met with the service-learning coordinator at Franklin High School, Ms. Gilburto. She encouraged me to do more for my community than what was necessary to meet the graduation requirements, and it quickly became something that I loved. She helped me see that I can make a difference in my community and have fun while doing it.
After meeting with Ms. Gilburto several more times, I became the service-learning coordinator for Franklin High School's Student Government Association. In 2012, I attended an SGA Leadership Conference and the National Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference where I learned new skills and insight that would assist me in my service -earning coordinator role.
I began to see a lot of my friends and peers really weren't sure how to go about obtaining their service-learning hours. I suggested posting a bulletin board for community service opportunities outside the lunchroom for all to see. I started to personally recruit my friends and anyone that I could find who needed to fill requirements, or who was interested in volunteering for different opportunities.
I have volunteered at many different events, but I particularly enjoy volunteering at the Baltimore Animal Recreation Center Park at Hannah More Park in Reisterstown, and the Reisterstown Festival each year.
The most memorable and rewarding volunteer experience I have had so far was as part of the annual Senior Citizen Prom, which I began volunteering for in ninth grade. This is an evening of dancing and fine dining for local senior citizens held at Franklin High School in April. What makes it so special to me is the interaction with the senior citizens. Not only do the student volunteers serve drinks and food, but we also get to talk and dance with the seniors. To see them all dressed up and having fun — dancing and enjoying being with the students — makes all the work put into the evening worth it.
It is really amazing seeing the change that I can make by helping others. Being a part of the annual Senior Citizen Prom and working with other organizations gave me the chance to not only give back to my community and school, but help my peers to do the same, as well.
But, I wanted to be even more involved so I began helping plan events and event setups. Last year, I got the opportunity to work with event coordinators, from whom I learned a great deal. I communicated via email with coordinators from the Reisterstown festival and BARC Park about the amount of volunteers needed.
I also discussed with them what needed to be done by the school volunteers and how many volunteers were needed per station. I helped convey that information to the volunteers from Franklin High School.
Each time I volunteer, I get to meet new and interesting people of all ages who share their stories and their reasons for volunteering. Volunteering, to me, means being a part of a movement or cause that helps others and, more importantly, having a chance to make a difference in my community.
I am currently 17 years old and in my senior year of high school. As I prepare to move on to new chapters in my life, I find myself looking forward to continuing my community service when I'm away at college.
Being a part of something bigger than myself is gratifying and fulfilling. It allows me to try new and different things, which has helped me narrow down what I want to do in the future.
Service-learning hour requirements were the reason I started on this journey, but not why I continue to be involved. I volunteer because I like helping others, supporting great causes, helping my community and getting others involved in volunteering.
I have learned many things in my high school experience, but the one thing I will always carry with me is the desire and willingness to help others.
The Volunteer Voices section highlights outstanding volunteers in the Baltimore County area. If you're a volunteer and are interested in submitting to the series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.