By: Carly Bandt, HOTC Youth Advisory Board President
“GYSD was an eye opening experience that let me clearly see how a community of high schoolers could come together and work as a team for the greater good”
This statement, expressed by Mei (Photo 1) after volunteering at the Week of Service Global Youth Service Day event, illustrates the impact volunteering can have not only on the recipients of service, but also on those who dedicate their time to help others.
While planning my GYSD project, my vision was to spark collaboration within my high school in order to encourage fellow classmates to become involved with service, in addition to helping various nonprofit organizations with a variety of “speed volunteering” projects each day after school.
It was remarkable how many students, many of whom had never volunteered before in their lives, were drawn in by the uplifting spirit that was created when we all gathered together in the front entrance of our high school with music, an informational booth on volunteerism, and of course, plenty of delicious food!
Said volunteer Christine Kao (Photo 3): “I liked that so many people who didn’t know one another were willing to join together to achieve something greater than themselves … even if they just did it for the food!”
Although some students did show up for less than altruistic motives, a large majority became very engaged with their work, and asked how else they could become involved by volunteering on a regular basis at the organizations we supported throughout the Week of Service. By bringing GYSD directly to students rather than making them take the initiative to sign up and get transportation to the event themselves, we were able to reach almost 200 students.
Said Colleen Patty (Photo 4): “My favorite thing was probably the accessibility of GYSD. It was amazing to help people without even leaving the school. Many students have busy lives, and the ability to volunteer right at school is wonderful.”
Although planning my first GYSD was a challenge, with plenty of mistakes, stressful moments, and obstacles to overcome, the way I felt when I mailed 171 letters to girls in Malawi, 139 dog toys to service dogs at Can Do Canines, 263 baby bibs to Bundles of Love, and 35 sets of alphabet flashcards to an after-school tutoring program made the entire endeavor worth it!