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Throughout my life I have always loved making other people feel happy and loved. I always feel amazing while I am volunteering, especially for children because it has changed their lives in amazing ways as well as my own. I often volunteer for A Kid Again, a company that is devoted to bringing children and their families fun filled memories. I began volunteering for A Kid Again two years ago in the winter and I assist with whatever needs to be done for events like setting up for activities, interacting and helping the families enjoy their experience, greeting the guests, and staying afterwards helping clean up when the event is finished.
When I see the children enjoying themselves and smiling it makes me feel so much joy in my heart. It is without a doubt amazing to see the children and their families bonding and spending wonderful quality time with each other.
I have loved every experience I have had so far with A Kid Again and the children associated with the company.
Everything I have done with the company has had a lasting impact on me in some way, but there is one event that I would say is more significant to me than the rest. A Kid Again is a Non-Profit organization that is dedicated to helping restore a sense of “normal” in the lives of families who are caring for a child with a life-threatening illness. The company hosts several different year-round events to give these families time to be together and provide them with positive fun-filled memories that will stick with them forever.
A Kid Again hosted a Christmas party last year as an opportunity for the families to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy themselves by playing fun games and doing different activities. I wanted to be able to meet and interact with the children and their families closely so I chose to work the game section of the Christmas event. I chose to run the game Lucky Duck because I know that as a child that was one of my favorite games to play at festivals and other fun events. I knew I would get the opportunity to interact closely with many of the children and give them the same memorable experience with the game I remember having myself. I specifically remember speaking with a young child who was going through chemotherapy at the time to battle cancer. This child seemed nervous and shy as she approached my station. I squatted down so I was not looking down on her ,but so I was eye level to try to allow her to open up and have some fun. I began speaking to her and introducing myself and explaining how to play the game. She still seemed shy and would not really smile or talk much. She turned to play the game and did not win the first time and I could see the disappointment on her face as she slowly turned to walk away. I caught her attention by saying I would let her play as many times as she would like since she was the only one in line at the time, with that I got her to perk up and I finally saw her shyness slip away as she smiled. I joined her and we played the game together. We laughed and bonded while playing multiple times repeatedly. I looked back at her parents and It touched my heart to see her parent’s faces light up with joy when I was able to bond with their daughter and get her to open up and enjoy herself. After a little while, the girl was satisfied with her time and was ready to move on the the next game. I handed her a couple toys as her prize and the way she looked up at me with the most excitement I have ever seen on a child’s face will always stick with me. Witnessing the happiness that I have made in that child’s heart truly set my own heart on fire. There were many other situations similar to this at the christmas party. Overall, helping entertain the children and letting them be themselves gave me one of the best feelings I have ever felt in my life and it had a very significant lasting impact on me.
I believe community service has a strong lasting impact on an individual when it is something you are truly passionate about. The moment I knew there was a way to make the lives of terminally ill children more exciting and memorable through fun events, I knew I wanted to be apart of that experience. I began volunteering for A Kid Again to bring joy into the lives of children who were in and out of the hospital constantly for things like doctors appointments, chemotherapy, ect. I feel like I am so passionate about helping children in those situations because about two years ago I had a major health scare myself that left me in the hospital for seventeen days total. I spent thirteen of those days at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the ICU on life support battling to stay alive. The whole situation caught me out of nowhere and turned my whole life upside down. Getting back on my feet was the absolute hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I will never forget the volunteers in the hospital who came around with carts full of fun activities and crafts for me to do really helped me take my mind off of everything going on. I would sit in my hospital bed shy and afraid, but the volunteers in the hospital would come around and talk to me and give me the opportunity to have some fun and it truly made such a huge difference in my time there. My hospital experience has impacted my life tremendously which is why I am so passionate about helping these children feel loved and giving them a wonderful time at the events. I know from experience how much of an impact volunteers can make and I want to give back and do the same to the children that the hospital volunteers did for me. I know how it feels to be in and out of the hospital for months and getting a break to have fun and be a kid is what kept me going, so I want the same fun experience for the children going through similar situations.
I was so impacted by my own hospital experience that I want to spread that same love and kindness to children at the A Kid Again events. I have learned how to communicate more efficiently and carry more valuable conversations with others. Because of situations similar to the little girl I bonded with while running my game at the Christmas party, my passion for giving back to my community has become increasingly stronger. I know for sure in the future I will look forward to events similar to that one. I am more patient and understanding of others now than I was before doing most of my volunteer work. By leading those children in activities and conversing with the families, I have gained knowledge of many different ways I am able to give back to my community. Volunteering at A Kid Again has always been a great experience and every time I volunteer with the company I always feel heavily impacted by what I have done for every family and their children that I always walk away from the events content.
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