I never realized how much you can do for your community. During the past years I have committed time to my hometown. I have performed activities including teaching children to play soccer, folding and stamping newsletters, and reading textbooks onto tape for the local elementary school.
The first year that my town conjured up the idea of "Baby Soccer," I lent a hand. I helped the kids ages two, three, and four, and were they a handful! Getting them to stay on their feet was hard without even trying to teach them to dribble a ball. The hour I spent each week with 60 kids was tiring, but the parents were great. Since the children were so young, we had a parent or guardian stay with each child, and sometimes the parents were funnier than the kids. I loved helping children learn the basics of soccer, and they loved learning.
Folding, licking, tagging, and stamping letters wasn't as much fun. Although time consuming, I realized that I was saving a parent a lot of time, making it worthwhile.
Recording my voice to help other children learn is the newest addition to my list of community services. It is an experimental project invented by a teacher to allow children who don't absorb enough information when they read to themselves, to follow along in the book while listening to the tape. When I finish filling each 90-minute tape, I send it in and receive another until I complete the text. I love the thought of teaching others, and this is a way I can help improve (though indirectly) children's learning.
I want others to realize the littlest of community services, such as folding and mailing letters, helps just as much as coaching or teaching others. Every community needs volunteers for big and small jobs. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.