Audrey Hepburn once said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”. When I was younger, my mom would always drag me around to different places every weekend, to either drop something off for people in need or do some kind of volunteering. As a child, this is something I expected to do every weekend; in a way I thought that this is what everyone’s else’s families spent their weekends doing as well. Of course, as I grew older, I began to understand how the real world works, and I soon realized this was not something my mom and I had to do, this is something she wanted us to do. Even as I started to grow older, I could never fully understand why we were always doing things for people that we didn’t even know. As a child, I would always say to my mom, “Mom, I know that you always tell me this is the right thing to do, but don’t these people have family and friends that are there for them?”. My mom would go on for what felt like hours about all the different reasons why she loved doing all these different things for people, and how not everyone had family like we did. My mom instilled in me as a child to always do as much as you can for others because not everyone is as privileged as others. As hard as it was for me to understand, I always knew we were doing this for a good reason; I was just waiting for the day when I could fully understand all of it. When I got older, I went to a high school that required each student to volunteer at least 60 hours every school year. Between always volunteering with my mom and going to a school that required me to volunteer, volunteering to help those in need was just something that was kind of like second nature to me.
When I got to college, lots of things changed for me, just like they do for lots of people. I was no longer in the same town as my mom, who I went with every weekend to do different acts of volunteering, and I was no longer going to a school that required me to have a certain number of volunteer hours every year. It felt very odd to me being in college and not volunteering every weekend like I was use to. But, I kept telling myself, “Oh, I’m so busy in college, I’ll just volunteer with my mom when I get home.”, which now that I think about it, that was such the wrong thing for me to be telling myself. When I discovered the Veteran Village, it truly opened my eyes to what I had been missing so much during my time at college, and that was the feeling you get when you help someone in need.
During my life, I have had so many opportunities to actually see the impact that just a couple simple small actions can do for others. This year I had the amazing opportunity to be able to volunteer to help the veterans at the Veterans Village. One of the things I love the most about volunteering for the veterans is that you are volunteering for someone who has put their life on the line to fight for our country. This year, I donated towels and dish soap to the veterans at the veteran’s village. Through this volunteering opportunity, something hit me a lot harder than it ever has during my other volunteering opportunities. That is the fact that, something so little to me like buying dish soap and towels, can have such a large impact on someone who can’t do that for themselves. By volunteering for these veterans, not only are we giving them something that they cannot provide for themselves, but we are also showing them that we do care about them and we do want to help them when they can’t help themselves. This year I learned that you ALWAYS have time to volunteer. I learned that volunteering doesn’t necessarily mean taking hours and hours out of your day, but just simply donating something to someone can truly change their lives. My heart is so full when I get to help those who cannot help themselves. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to donate to those at the veteran’s village; this brought me to the realization that there is always something you can being doing to help someone, no matter how big or small, it will always have a positive impact.