I attended St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic high school from 2001-2004. Students are required to serve at least 20 service hours per year so I chose to participate in the spring break service trip each year.
I did that because I enjoy traveling and thought it would be a really fun experience, plus it was an added bonus that I’d get all of my service hours taken care of at one time.
Consequently, I was hooked immediately. Freshman year we went to rural Colorado and helped paint a grade school. Sophomore year we went to Louisiana and helped pick-up debris from the hurricane. Junior year was when I really fell in love with community service.
We went to Juarez, Mexico, and I saw extreme poverty conditions. Families living at the city dump, no access to clean water and few economic opportunities. Seeing how the rest of the world lives opened my eyes to the opportunities and blessings I so often take for granted.
I made a pledge as a young teenager to never forget the people of Juarez and to do something to make a difference. Years later I’m still committed to service work, but I have realized that each of us have our own talent and contribution towards making the world better.
For me, my passion is helping other people get introduced to volunteering. I love how unpredictable the field of community service is. It’s always an adventure.
Why do you care? Celebrate National Volunteer Week by sharing with us your fondest community service memory at [email protected].
Written by Andrew Stanley.