Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
In the dark, cramped basement of a Newark church that had been converted into a preschool, I had just finished reading to the students and handing each of them a brand new book to keep. Many of the children were overjoyed, but one little boy was particularly riveted by the book he had received. This boy, I discovered, had been shy and withdrawn, and had never had any interest in books before.
“I have been trying to get him to read all year,” his teacher remarked in wonder, and her eyes actually filled with tears. “Somehow you reached him, Elena.”
At that moment, I felt a new connection to my volunteerism. Since the eighth grade, I have been organizing book drives in my community to collect books for underprivileged schools throughout the area. Additionally, I personally visit schools in Newark and Paterson to read to the children, like I was doing that day in the church. I was not used to seeing the impact of volunteer work firsthand; I was not used to seeing how my project inspired other. But that day, I was the one inspired. I made a teacher cry, and I have never felt more honored.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Get your own Poll!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Public and private non-profit organizations, hospitals, libraries, religious organizations and schools in Bergen County are invited to bring volunteers and staff, to this non-competitive, community-wide event. Each organization can choose to honor its top volunteers based on its own criteria for determining exemplary volunteer achievement, such as impact, dedication and loyalty.
“This event is a great way for organizations to honor their volunteers,” explains Janet Sharma, the Volunteer Center’s executive director. “It’s not a competition, and everyone is a winner!”
Reservations are on a first come, first served basis, and are due by March 24, 2008. The cost is $10.00 per person. Call Debbie Emery, (201) 489-9454 ext. 127 to reserve a place.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
However, after regaining a bit of lucidity I realized today was the day I promised to volunteer at my library. I was one of the members in a reading program for young kids. It was simple enough. Parents who may have work or other responsibilities can drop their child off and my job was to read to them.
After getting there I was directed to the children’s section of the library. I was introduced to a young boy and I asked him what he wanted to be read. He pointed to a children’s anthology, a collection of classics like the Gingerbread Man and Mother Goose nursery rhymes.
I know it’s not the most incredible volunteer opportunity. I doubt that I changed any lives but I did make somebody’s day. That was good enough.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go back. I entered high school and became extremely busy. Balancing tests, homework, and jobs; by the time there is a moment of freedom, the only thing you can think about is friends or relaxing. And usually any other time my schedule opens up is at awkward hours, making it impossible to find a place to volunteer.
To add pressure, are the volunteer hour requirements. Now, I know that I should say that volunteering should be done because it’s right, not to get something out of it. That’s absolutely true, but repeating it doesn’t change minds. Still, unless you can find something worthwhile it’s impossible to get through. Nowadays it’s nearly impossible to figure out on your own.
Submitted by Matt Barnett, High School Senior at the Bergen Academies & Intern at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.