Community Service Experience – Part One

As part of being a student whose school somehow follows the British system, it is required from each high-school student to achieve at least 35 hours of community service, in order for them to graduate.

We were given a list with specific NGOs that we can go volunteer in.

Between you and me, I have always wanted to help out in an NGO, but I never really knew when, where, and how to start.

So as a first choice, I chose a hospital that happens to be not so far from my house. I picked this hospital first because not only was my job to entertain kids in the paediatrics department, but also my career goal is to be a doctor, so the hospital kind of helps on both levels.

I was offered two hours on my first day, and my job was to entertain a 6-year-old boy named Daniel, whom I was told had a lung disease. Daniel was adorable. We played with clay, drew lovely pictures, looked at videos of animals — Daniel is fascinated by animals — and an old lady came by and taught us some origami techniques! You should have seen how happy Daniel was with the paper frog we did.

On the second day, however, my job was to entertain a 12-year-old boy. This was kind of hard for me because a 12-year-old kid does not enjoy colouring and playing with clay, that’s for sure. So I sat there, trying to have discussions with him, but his mind was absorbed by the television. In fact, he was leaving the hospital on that day, so I understand why he wasn’t really excited of my presence. I have to say, his grandma enjoyed my company more than he did. I tried my best to make these 2 hours more or less enjoyable for everyone.

First 4 hours: done.

For my second NGO choice, I went to another hospital, but I was supposed to help in the place where they took care of kids with mental disabilities. I was in charge of a class of around 7 kids, and the oldest among them was 9 years old. Some of these kids could not speak, but they knew how to express themselves in their own way. We danced, played games, I made my own one-man show and made them laugh really hard — their teacher told me she has never seen them laugh so much — and well I was actually sad to leave. These kids were adorable. I enjoyed the whole 6 hours.

First 10 hours: done.

Lastly, I went to an NGO where people take care of adults with mental disabilities, and where these adults find pleasure in making candles and plexiglass. I went there for 5 hours, and for the first 2 hours I must say that all I did was do the dishes. I washed a pot almost as big as I am! Next, for the other 3 hours, I helped one of the workers prepare the cups they use to make candles, since most of the adults who made the candles were on vacation. So I basically scraped a lot of candle wax off the cups. But in the end, I was glad to help.

The community service experience doesn’t stop here, and the satisfaction you will feel after helping others is by far one of the best feelings ever. So don’t just volunteer because your school asked you to, do it for you, and for the world!

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