Naturally, every high school freshman has probably felt lost and afraid at the start of high school. This right of passage is something every teenager goes through in his or her life. It makes it easier for the new student if they have a place they belong, like a sport or club. Not knowing a thing about high school, I didn’t join anything right off the bat. I had never been into sports or theater so for a long time, I was lost… until I found the club that got the ball rolling.
In my freshman year, I discovered a club named Students Movement Against Cancer. Run by an inspirational cancer survivor, this club raised money and organized events for children’s hospitals in my school’s area. My love for this club encouraged me to participate in more volunteering clubs and ultimately allowed me to find my place in my enormous school. After this club unveiled my love for community service, I went on a rampage of signing up for other clubs and volunteering opportunities. I joined Renaissance Club, Tickled Pink, Art Club, Spanish Club, Students Together for Autism Research, Animal Welfare Club, Threads Club, and Yearbook Club. I also joined Fantastic Friends Special Needs Organization and Marlton Recreation Counsel’s Sports Unity Program, which are both clubs outside of my school. By participating in these clubs, it enabled me to become a member of the National Honor Society, which is also based on community service. Even though some of these activities aren’t entirely community based, they all played a significant part of my acceptance into a renowned summer volunteer program at a children’s hospital.
In the winter of 2015, I applied to become a volunteer at Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children. The application process was almost as tedious as the college application process but it was well worth it. Finally, I received word back that I would continue into the interview process. When I finally obtained an acceptance letter into the program, 1 also received my assignments. In the morning, 1 would be in the “Rehabilitation Classroom” and in the afternoon, the gift shop. At that point, I had no indication of what I’d be doing in the rehabilitation classroom, but the gift shop was self-explanatory. So on June 22″d, the first day of the program, I walked into the hospital completely oblivious to the fact that my entire way of thinking and living would change because of my role in the classroom.
On my first day, the head teacher assigned me small tasks in the beginning, like organizing and making copies. When the patients came in for school, she allowed me to give it shot at teaching them material they once knew, but had forgotten because of their medical situation. She recognized that even though these students had trouble comprehending certain material because of medical concerns, they seem to be understanding and connecting with me. From this point on, she allowed me to teach them Algebra, Psychology, English, Chemistry, and other topics that I knew how to effectively communicate. As I taught more lessons to more students, I became very involved with their education and I often inquire about their progress in the class even after the program has ended. It became less about the understanding of the subject and more about the perseverance and determination that they exhibited. Even though I was the teacher, my students were the ones who taught me about strength and the ability to keep going despite extreme adversity. I have learned very valuable lessons and they have forever changed the way I live.
The other volunteer programs I have participated in have changed me as a person, but the hospital I previously spoke about has been my greatest achievement. It has had the biggest impact on my life and it is the reason I have become passionate about serving my community.