The Gift of Helping Others

December 13, 2016
Ian Shang  University High school  9th Grade

Ian Shang
University High school
9th Grade

A simple dictionary definition of volunteerism would be the act of helping others. But, volunteerism means weighs heavier for me. It’s helping those who need a fresh start, a helping hand, a person to care about them. I grew up in the wealthy and beautiful city of Irvine with a safe environment, the best education, and a warm loving family. I did not need to worry about when my next meal was going to come, or whether I would have a roof over my head. Last summer, I went to Skid Row, where the homeless population is the highest in America. When I arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The simple beige houses that I was familiar with replaced by old tattered buildings smeared with graffiti. The spotless sidewalks that went parallel to the flourishing flora turned into sidewalks with tents crammed together and trash littered all around. I was so surprised because I had not seen anything like this in my life. This was when I realized that it wasn’t the world outside Irvine that was so different; it was Irvine that was different. Not all the cities had a Starbucks every five minutes, schools with great teachers, restaurants at every block. I was one of the few children in the world to be fortunate enough to grow up in a city of peace and abundance. When I got to serve food for the homeless people at a kitchen in Skid Row, I saw crowds of homeless people streaming into the dining hall. As I handed each of them their plate, the homeless people said “Thank you” as they smile with their eyes glittering with happiness. One person even approached me and said that he was extremely grateful for my service and that he felt more motivated to go on with his life. When he said that, I was touched by his thankfulness for just a simple meal of beans and rice, while I was always accustomed to having food every day. From this experience, I discovered the true meaning of volunteerism. To me, volunteerism is to give people who are less fortunate what they need, to give them hope and motivation for a new start, and ultimately, to show them that someone cares deeply about them. Overall, volunteering at Skid Row gave me a vision to follow through with the rest of my life: to help others in need, which provides in return the ultimate gift of happiness.

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One Comment

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