My First Experience Volunteering in America

(Day of Hope)
zōng-yàn lǐ (Lily)

Today was a very important day for me. While I am not quite sure how much this will affect my life in the future, right now, I am very very happy, very very satisfied.

Churches, government agencies and the police department worked together to host the event. In Baltimore, there are several high-crime, poverty-stricken areas. I have been told they are some of the worst areas in the country. What makes these places so terrible? It’s because of the drug dealers, abuses and some other bad living conditions. The purpose of this event was to tell the people in these areas that life is full of hope, that the people of this society passionately want to help them, therefore, they should not lose hope and should not fall.

Our church was in charge of taking care of the children, playing games with them and giving them small prizes. Apart from the kids’ activities, there were also free hotdogs, drinks, cotton candy, snacks, popcorn, etc. There were also free services, such as free hair-cuts and many, many other things. I don’t know exactly all that was available. What I saw was all about taking care of children. We had many small games and prizes. At the beginning, I helped with distributing the prizes, and later helped with supervising the children playing on the inflatable slides and bounce houses. The children’s clothes were not expensive at all, and some kids’ hair and socks even seemed dirty. But every volunteer lovingly served them. When the kids won a game, they also said “Good job!” then led them to choose a prize. In the middle of the event, a police helicopter landed on the lawn, inviting the children to go closer to watch it. I also had one of my little dreams realized: making cotton candy myself! I did it this time. Watching them eating popcorn and holding the cotton candy I had made and being excited about a small prize, I felt so joyful.

The sun was unbearably hot and I had forgotten my sunscreen, but I didn’t even notice it because of this special atmosphere. I could easily persevere because I was helping these children. I believe it was the faith that supported us, no matter how tired we were. There was one little friend, who may have gotten a prize from me earlier, and now saw me at the slides. He said to me, “Hey, I know you!” and then came to hug me. When I was hugging him, I suddenly felt that he is a loving boy and he likes me. Because I brought him joy, he then treated me as an old friend and gave me a hug. He was so lovely; and from his eyes, I could see he was very, very happy. I felt so happy that I could give joy and help to others. Maybe because I helped bring a little bit of change to the life of others, even the gleam of joy when the children got the prizes or their satisfying looks when they got the cotton candy, I felt that I was not doing something for my own interest, but truly integrating myself into the attitude of helping others. The old saying is this: “When you give roses to others, the fragrance remains.” Now, I come to truly understand its meaning. Another little boy dropped his shoe and couldn’t put it on himself. Another volunteer and I helped him put his dirty and sweaty foot into the shoe. The boy didn’t know how to help us help him with his shoe. Neither of us really had much experience putting on little kids’ shoes either! Half of the student volunteers from our church were Americans. I did try to communicate with them, even though I could see my own shyness, but I really did try. I also came to know two elder sisters from my hometown. They are super kind. The event attracted many, many volunteers. Our group is only a small part of it. I was told the mayor came to do volunteering, too. But I am not sure who she was (maybe she was the one talking on the stage).

I really hope to participate in these kinds of events more, so I can help others, make new friends, and make my own life richer. Honestly, I haven’t had this kind of joyful feeling for quite a long time.

In America, all the high school students are required to do volunteering before they can graduate, either for 72 hours or more than 100 hours. I am only required to do 40 hours since I’m already part of the way through high school. Before, I thought that I could just find a church, or library to get it done quickly. That’s all. But the experience of this day changed my mind. What I want to say is I am truly coming to invest myself in helping others. If I am given more chances like this, I am sure I will participate. There are many events like this in America. I can’t stay home all the time, but want to reach out to help others, so that I can become positive and joyful. Wonderful.

I hope I will adapt myself to the life here sooner or later. I want to say, bravely, I am still afraid of making mistakes. Sometimes, I am even nervous to talk with Americans because of my broken English. My situation is determined by my own decision. I want to change my former life attitude and perspective about my life here. Perhaps, my life will change because of this experience. Only when I am open, positive, strong, and have positive energy, will people respond to me more readily. I need to be positive and active. Be content. Matter of fact, my life is really better than many people’s lives. At least I have a place to live and can eat whatever I want to eat. There are many homeless people who actually starve to death. My circumstances are better than theirs, for sure. So, if I feel bored, I believe it’s my own problem. Now that I have realized this, I will change it. I will find a way to change, to adjust myself, rather than just letting things go or giving up. That would be irresponsible. I will be better and full of positive energy. Thanks!

Lǐ zōng-yàn (Lily)

李 宗 彦
今天对我来说是非常重要的一天 ,不知道会对我以后的人生起到多大的影响,不过现在,我的心情非常非常的开心 非常非常的满足 。
教会、 政府、 警察,共同举办了一个活动。在巴尔的摩,有好几个犯罪率高,又很赤贫的地区。听说属于全国最乱地区之一。那么,它为什么这么乱呢?因为贩毒、侵扰、和不好的生活条件。这次活动的目的是想告诉那里的人们, 生活是充满希望的,社会上的人们正在热情地帮助他们,所以,不要失去希望,不要堕落。
我们的教会主要负责的是孩子,就是陪小孩子玩游戏,然后发给他们礼物。当然,除了这个,还有发一些免费的热狗啊、饮料啊、棉花糖、零食、爆米花什么的。还有免费剪头发,还有好多,其它的我不太清楚。我所看见的都是关于孩子的活动。我们设置了很多小游戏,准备了很多奖品。我开始的时候帮他们发礼物,后来又帮忙看着小孩子去玩充气滑梯和跳跳屋。他们的衣服一看就不是贵的,很廉价。有的小孩子头发也脏兮兮的,袜子也黑黑的。但是,每个志愿者呢,都很热情的接待他们。如果他们在游戏中赢了呢, 还会鼓励他们说“Good job!!!”然后,领着他们要去拿奖品。在这个活动进行到一半时,警察的直升飞机也落在了草坪上,鼓励孩子们去近距离的参观。我呢,也实现了一个从小就有的小小梦想,那就是做棉花糖啊!看着他们吃着爆米,花拿着我做的棉花糖,那着小礼物,别提我心里有多满足,多开心了。
太阳很晒,我也忘记涂防晒霜了。但是,在那个环境中就觉得没什么了。我一直坚持着,因为是在帮助这些孩子。我想,这就是一种信念,支撑着我们,不管有多累。有个小朋友啊,可能是我给他发过礼物吧,在玩滑梯的时候又看见我了,他说“Hey, I know you!”然后就和我拥抱。当我和他抱抱的时候,我突然觉得,他很热情啊,他很喜欢我啊。因为我给他带来了快乐,所以他才会看见我就像见到老朋友一样,和我拥抱。他很可爱,从他的表情能看出来,他很开心、很开心。所以,我觉得心里格外的满足,我可以给别人带来快乐,我可以帮到别人。也许因为我可以给别人的生活带来一点点的改变,哪怕是小朋友接过礼物瞬间的欣喜,或者是吃到棉花糖时的满足。总之,我觉得今天我不是为自己做事情,而是真正的融入到了这个氛围里去帮助别人。有句话不是说“赠人玫瑰,手留余香”嘛。现在我才真正体会到了这句话的含义。当小孩子鞋子掉了的时候,不会穿啊。所以,我和一个女生就帮他穿,也不管他的袜子脏脏的、湿湿的,真的是抓住他的小脚,往鞋里穿啊。这孩子还不往鞋里踩,整得咱俩干着急。我们教会去的志愿者,有一半是美国的学生。我也试着和他们聊天啊,虽然还是腼腆一点 但是我尝试了。还认识了二个家乡来的姐姐,她俩人都超好。整个活动来了很多很多的志愿者,我们只是其中的一小部分。听说市长也来做志愿者了,只是我不知道在演讲台上说话的是不是他。