Ding, ding! I hear my alarm go off. As I reached to turn off my alarm, I was glad I set it because I was worried I would be late to my first night of volunteering at Garrison Night School as a tutor and educational aid in the extended educational program for the children of adult students who attend Garrison Night School.
I stepped out of the door of my house and headed to the car for the short ride to Garrison Middle School, the home of the Troopers. As I got closer to the school, I started to get butterflies in my stomach. The car stopped and, I felt more nervous as I got out of the car. I felt as if I were a child arriving to her first day of school.
As I entered the school, I felt extremely nervous as I walked down what felt like the longest hallway ever.
I could hear the squeaking, screams and laughter of children the closer I got to the common area. The noise of the children became louder and louder.
When I arrived in the room, I could see the little angels who produced all that noise. To me though, it was a sweet melody. I saw them running around playing. The tingle came back again, but it was not butterflies now.
Although I was a bit afraid at this moment, I was there to help and mentor and tutor these children. Many of them were preschool age and need my help.
As I reported in at the main table, I was assigned a child to read to. I approached the child, one who seemed to be the most isolated from the other children, and I saw in her eyes the same stare that a young cub would make when seeing a new person come near them.
When I got closer to her, I smiled and saw she had felt the warmth and comfort of my smile. Instantly, I saw what resembled a jack-o-lantern smile since she was around 6 or 7-year-old and was missing many of her teeth.
I was able to see past the missing teeth and saw the beauty of her smile, a smile that showed delight and joy.
I grabbed a box full of books and picked out three. The books I picked were three of my favorite childhood stories, and I let her choose one of them.
As she reached over to grab it, I saw her small fragile hand reach for a book with the image of a big red dog. As I began to read to her in Spanish, her primary language, I could see the excitement and joy in her eyes. I couldn’t believe this small act of me reading to her had made her happy.
As I continued to read I couldn’t stop thinking about how much this meant to her and to me.
At the end of my first day, I had learned a valuable lesson. I learned that if you take time off to help others, you can actually change a life — in this case, the life of a small girl.
I hope one day everyone will value what others have done for them so much that the impact will motivate them to help others as well and teach others to pass on that same value to future generations.
From my experience as a young volunteer, I can say that at times even helping with the smallest detail by devoting some of your time, you can make a great impact on someone else. With each small step you make to help others, you help pass around that message.
If more people volunteered as a community, we could all change the world.