Community Service, Essay Example

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Essay

Over the past summer, I engaged in one of the few community service opportunities that I have performed.  While I didn’t know exactly what to expect, it became quite the memorable experience in the end.  It is something that I will certainly not forget, in light of the events that occurred during my time.

The opportunity came through my local church.  It was a chance to volunteer at a local nursing home, where spending time with the residents would be involved.  Indeed, this was something that I have never done before, in my life.  Jokingly, I thought about my time with older members of my family, but clearly this would be a new experience for me.  Quickly I decided that this would be an interesting opportunity that could be good not only for my resume, but me.

Examples of Events at the Nursing Home

In my brief time at the nursing home, it wouldn’t be possible to capture everything that I did.  However, there are a few moments that are particularly noteworthy.  These certainly resound in my mind when I consider my time in the summer with the residents.

WWII Stories from the Veteran

After meeting some of the residents at the nursing home, I met Charles, a veteran from the World War II.  Coming to the home once a week, he was probably the person who I talked to the most in my time there.  Though he was a bit weak physically, due to some medical ailments, his strength was certainly his storytelling.  Or, perhaps more accurately, his stories reflected his strong character.

His stories were not the stereotypical “boring war stories.”  In fact, they were quite immersive, from descriptions of the scary moments and so forth.  I actually found his depictions of down time more interesting, as it was engaging to hear about how he and his fellow soldiers spent their time.  They were a family, and for a family man like Charles, his compassion and spirit for his soldiers were amazing.

Playing Games with the Ladies

At the nursing home I visited, they had a Wii gaming system.  I thought that it was a bit humorous, to see the older people playing on a modern gaming system.  Yet, the conversations proved to surpass that on the humor scale.

Probably the funniest part of the conversations were the incessant questions about dating.  I think that it had something to do with my young age.  Nevertheless, it was funny to see older people have such an interest in one’s dating life.  You could see the difference in the generations by the way they asked questions.  While they could play the Wii, stories of my friends’ dating habits on Facebook that I told they were out of their reach.

Helping with Dinners

Apart from down time with the residents at the nursing home, such as my time spent with Charles and the ladies, I was eager to help out.  Thankfully, I was able to help serve dinners with the residents.  Personally, it was one thing to talk and spend time with them, but I wanted to help them out somehow, and this was a great way to do so.

To the casual observer, there was nothing special about this whatsoever.  As one would observe in a movie that involves a soup kitchen at Thanksgiving, it might seem like a young person merely serving food.  However, it was much more than that.  When I took the time to do this, you could feel the compassion that the residents had.  It transcended the moment and, to this day, still resounds when I think back in my time there.

Conclusion

After the experience, what I liked least about it was merely what I felt initially.  While there were some parts of the volunteer work that I preferred not to do, I think that my least-liked moments were due to it being a new experience.  I didn’t know what to expect; the anxiety was quickly overcome, however.  What I soon found out is the people there were deeply rooted in compassion.  It was amazing spending time with them, to hear their stories and to just be around them.

From the experience, I learned a great deal about myself.  Speaking and being around the residents, in my opinion, didn’t necessarily reveal something about myself, but allowed me to see what I wanted to display more in my life.  I want others to see compassion and other values exuding from me.  In a way, my brief time at the nursing home revealed valuable role models that I can mold myself to, by following their values.  Certainly I would enjoy the opportunity to volunteer in this or another capacity again.  Hopefully it can become something that I engage in on a regular basis, as there is a great deal more to learn and do in these capacities.

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