I knew that once this day came to an end, my life would havecompletely changed. I was anxious about the speech I would present atone of the youth centers where I had been volunteering. I gatheredall courage, and despite the adrenaline rush, I could not help butthink of all the admiration I would get from my parents, family, andfriends. Every year, the youth center invited the young people tovolunteer at its facility where different programs are offered suchas guidance and counseling, drug abuse, entrepreneurship amongothers. I had decided to join the organization as I did not have muchactivity to do during my leisure time. Besides, my parents encouragedthe idea as it would help me avoid spending too much time on thetelevision or browsing the internet as was the norm with otherchildren. Therefore, during the holidays, I got to spend all myleisure time at the youth center where I had the most memorableexperience of my life. In this story, I will share my volunteeringexperience, how the life-changing opportunity arose, and the actualevent that changed my perception of living.
My experience as a volunteer was overwhelming. I worked alongsideother volunteers where we would prepare the studying materials forthe various courses offered at the center. We also got to participatein the group discussions among the drug abuse victims, sharedifferent experiences, and brainstormed on ways they can lead betterlives. During the youth center meetings, I was also responsible fortaking minutes and preparing reports of the different activities thatwe undertook outside the facility. For instance, we had two eventsthat were performed. They included a clean-up exercise of the townand a visit to the needy people in the society. The clean-up job waspart of a corporate social responsibility that the organizationwanted to fulfill while the trip to the disadvantaged individuals wasaimed at exposing the beneficiaries of the programs to the fact thatthe society has destitute people. Hence, they should be grateful forthe chance they have at the youth center and remain focused onchanging their lifestyles.
The life-changing opportunity arose when the organization wasselected to participate in a government project. The center had beencontracted among other facilities to conduct a study on the issuesthat children placed in the child welfare system faced. The researchwas aimed at identifying the challenges and developing sustainablesolutions to the discovered problems. As volunteers at the youthcenter, we were tasked with the responsibility of gatheringinformation from children who were in the system, and those who hadalready been placed in foster homes. The exercise proved to be alearning opportunity and an eye-opener for me. Most of the people whoattended the youth center training were young people who wereinvolved in drugs abuse or violence. Hence, the programs helped themto overcome the challenges and move on with their life. However, thestudy made me interact with individuals whose future lay in the handsof the government (Kornør et al., 2015). I got to understand that amprivileged to have my parents and family who provide all my needs,besides supporting and encouraging me to achieve my dreams.
On this particular day, the project had been finalized, and thereport of its outcome was being presented to the government in aceremony. The management at the youth center had selected me to givea speech on the experiences I had with children during the exercise.I was expected to be their voice to the government, and they believedI would present them well. I must admit that coming up with the finaldraft of the speech for the event was not an easy task. The past weekhad seemed like an eternity as I hit various roadblocks. Mysupervisor at the youth center had asked me to provide him with adraft for approval, and each time I presented one, he would change somany aspects such that I was almost giving up. However, I realizedthat if I fail to pull this speech, I will lose my opportunity offame. Yes, I considered it a chance where I would become famous.Some media companies had been invited to the event and I knew once Iwas seen on television and the social media, everyone would betalking about me at school.
My parents accompanied me to the ceremony, and as soon as the eventkicked off, my anxiety level increased. The Master of Ceremonyinvited various stakeholders to give their speech, and when my turncame, everyone clapped as I walked to the stage. My heart was racing,but I remained confident that I would let myself shine during thisGod-given opportunity. I read the words eloquently and judging fromthe way people were nodding their heads in approval I knew my speechwas informative. I could not help but get excited towards the end asI flashed a broad smile to my parents who sat in the audience. Ihighlighted the issues that the children faced, and even expressedsome of the wishes of the children by quoting them in the speech. Iwas conceived that the information had been well conveyed since afterconcluding, everyone stood up applauding me for the great message.The media personalities who were present were flashing their camerastaking pictures and some even followed me outside seeking my views onvarious topics concerning children.
In conclusion, the volunteering experience was memorable and alsoprovided essential life lessons. As I had anticipated, my friendscalled congratulating me for my achievements. However, my perceptiontowards life had been altered as I decided always to be grateful forthe little things in life. I was also proud of myself forvolunteering at the youth center because I learned various thingsrelated to drug abuse, violence, and entrepreneurship. Besides, Ipromised myself that I would occasionally be doing something for theneedy in the society as part of my personal goals.
Kornør, H., Bergman, H., Maayan, N., Soares-Weiser, K., &Bjørndal, A. (2015). Systematic reviews on child welfare services:identifying and disseminating the evidence. Journal of Evaluationin Clinical Practice, 21(5), 855-860.doi:10.1111/jep.12391