Gemillut Hasadim – What I Learned from My Community Service
Community service is extremely important to me. Personally, I would never trade my experiences with social action for anything because they provide me with happiness and teach me how to be a better person in society. Putting others first allows individuals like myself to understand what other people, especially those that are less fortunate, are going through in life. Some of the enriching experiences that allow me to help others include but are not limited to: Camp R.O.B.I.N, Challenger Sports, the Midnight Run and Special Olympics.
Camp Robin and Challenger Sports enable me to work with individuals that have disabilities. I teach various individuals with both mental and physical disabilities how to play a sport. These two programs help me teach others that, just because they have a disability does not mean they do not deserve to play the sports they love.
The Midnight Run allowed me to give homeless people resources vital for survival. I provided them with clothing and food; two luxuries that I have an abundance of. When handing out these resources, some of the homeless individuals demanded that their jackets have a hood, or have a certain logo on it, etc. At first I thought to myself, “how rude, why would beggars be so demanding?” By the end of the night, I realized they do not have the luxury of going to the mall and picking out their clothes. We were the shopping mall and they were picking out whatever styles they preferred. So, I then realized that what they asked for was not so bad because if I can choose the exact style and brand of the sneaker I want, then they can pick whatever used coat they wanted to wear in the rain. This taught me to appreciate everything that my family has provided for me. Additionally, seeing the homeless smiling and grateful for the necessities they attained made me extremely happy. Knowing that I am partly responsible for giving them warmth during the winter, a hood in the rain, and food to hold them off for a few more hours, made this a night one that I will never forget.
Living in Marlboro where kids get everything they want including brand new Mercedes as their first car, Louis Vuitton purses and the newest iPhone whenever it comes out, has blinded me from the rest of the world. Many people are less fortunate than I am and lack the simple necessities that I am so privileged to have. Along with the community service, which I previously talked about, I volunteered at a soup kitchen in Asbury Park. I served starving people small rations of food. Again, I realized how lucky I was to receive whatever food I want, whenever I am hungry. These individuals are not even fortunate enough to get seconds. At both the soup kitchen and the Midnight Run I was able to visualize the harsh reality of what people actually have to go through. Seeing this was terrifying. At the soup kitchen, there were tons of nice and thankful people who were ecstatic to eat whatever was being served to them, even though it was frozen and came from a can. What struck me the most was that no matter what they were given they were extremely grateful, whereas if I went to a restaurant and received what they had, I would have demanded a refund. This experience gave me a newfound respect for the less fortunate.
The last experience I want to talk about is by far the most rewarding. When volunteering at an organization called Challenger Sports I have bonded with someone extremely extraordinary. My buddy, Andy is the reason I wake up early every Sunday morning and drag myself out of bed. Andy is smart, inquisitive, athletic and has an incredible ability to memorize every bus route in the FRHSD school district. There’s nothing like getting to the field ready to play a sport and being asked a dozen questions. Our relationship has grown further than just playing sports; he has become my friend and has taught me just as much, if not more than I have taught him. He has taught me that his disability does not affect his relationship with others. One Saturday evening, I received a text message from my friends asking if I wanted to go to Great Adventure on Sunday morning. My response was simple, “I can go on one condition, pick me up when the session of Challenger Sports is over.” So the next day, my friends picked me up from a park in the middle of Freehold and we enjoyed the rest of the day together. Gemillut Hasadim, or the giving of loving-kindness means so much to me; it is priceless.
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