Student Essay Fall 2015
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself and one for helping others.” - Audrey Hepburn
Based on the actions of people in the world today, it seems that many people exhibit selfish behavior in that they are takers and not givers. They want to take all they can get for themselves, but give nothing in return. I must admit that in my teenage years, I was one of the same mindset. As I began to mature into a young adult, I realize that there are people who are in need some type of help. Oftentimes snide comments are made about how or why people get themselves into situations where they need help from others; however, after working with the Homeless Veterans, I found that many times people come to depend on the help of others through no fault of their own.
Through my American History class, I was given an opportunity to volunteer and participate in a community service project. I chose to volunteer for the Homeless Veterans because military service members are dear to my heart. My dad is a reservist in the United States Army, but is currently on active duty and has recently been deployed overseas. This could have very easily been him in this position. With all of the fighting among different countries in the world, I imagine that military service is a frightening experience. Yet, so many American soldiers make the ultimate, unselfish sacrifice of putting their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. So when the opportunity was presented to help them, I did not think twice about it.
My initial interaction with the veterans occurred when those participating in the service project were asked to provide food items for the Thursday Night dinner. Although not a baker, I provided some delicious cakes and cookies from the Publix bakery. This was a very rewarding experience because I got a chance to hear the personal stories from American veterans.
During the final weeks of class, another opportunity was presented for volunteers to provide household, toiletry, and personal items to fill holiday baskets. For this project I decided to purchase and donate large bath towels with matching wash cloths and pairs of gloves and hat sets. This too was a rewarding experience because I was able to help someone in need, someone who is less fortunate than I am.
Growing up I have always heard that it is more blessed to give than receive, but I did not really know what that meant until now. Volunteering and helping those in need is such a rewarding feeling because it demonstrates our love for humankind and gives us an opportunity to show that we care. Not only did I come to this realization through my educational experience, I also gain this wisdom also as I grow in my faith. We are blessed to be a blessing and the more we give, the more we receive. Without a doubt, I know that my participation in the Homeless Veterans service project has impacted the facility and the community.