Why I Love Volunteering

Why+I+Love+Volunteering

Angelina Garcia, Staff Writer

A couple of years ago when I was a freshman, I just couldn’t understand why community service hours were mandatory in order to graduate from high school. I was aware that helping the community is great for raising confidence and helping others for a cause, but I didn’t know why I had to do it to get my diploma. Now, as a junior, it’s much more obvious to me.

Until this year, I had a whopping zero community service hours. I couldn’t find a place to volunteer, a place that I would commit to and donate many hours into supporting. When I discovered that I could now, as a 17-year-old, volunteer at an animal rescue, my search had come to an end.

I went through the orientation, training, was shown the ropes, and began. My main responsibility consists of getting to know the dogs a bit, then going online to write a “memo” that captures their personality and highlights their positive traits in the hopes of appealing to potential adopters. It’s an amazing feeling to see people walk over to one of the dog’s kennel card and read aloud what’s written on it: “read this- it’s cute!” No surprise that it’s even better when the dog goes home that day.

It’s difficult to explain how heartwarming it is when I approach a dog with a leash in my hands. Some wiggle around, wag their tail, and others will sit there calmly, patiently, knowing that that is also an acceptable response. On my first couple of days I paid close mind to who appeared to be the calmest and most welcoming when choosing who I’d write the memos for. I wanted to start off easy, learning how to manage the calmer large dogs before shifting over to the excited ones. Seeing that level of excitement from such a simple gesture came as completely new to me, yet it remains something I look forward to each and every day I go in to volunteer.

What’s even more rewarding is being able to play with these dogs and witness their own little personalities come out as they get some fresh air. I also get to see any tricks they’ve learned, because that’s a valuable addition in their stories. What’s more adorable than having a dog shake your hand with its paw?

Seeing how happy I can make the dogs and feeling as though I’ve helped them in some way has played the largest role in my understanding of the community service requirement. It’s not only a benefit for who or what is being helped, but for those who are helping as well. Similarly, instead of meaninglessly donating items here and there, I feel like I’m part of something I can be proud of and that I’m also making some sort of difference. This is the first time that I’ve felt like something is “my thing,” so to speak.

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