Every high school student needs at least 150 community service hours completed before graduation. This past Saturday, our high schoolers headed out to visit with one of the widows in our community. They were going to help her with some cleaning, but more importantly, they were challenged with getting to know her. We don’t want this “task” to become a “check-off list,” but rather for their time spent volunteering to listen, learn, and work alongside those they are serving.
The adolescents did not complain about getting up early and having to go clean somebody else’s home when they had chores of their own that needed to be completed. They were eager to go and came prepared.
One of the first assignments was to make sure that Ms. Reyes felt heard and that anything they accomplished would be what she needed and under her supervision. And they did just that. They sat and talked and listened attentively. They came up with some objectives together. Oscar was prepared with a short devotion to share. They connected. One of the girls commented that Ms. Reyes reminded her of her grandmother.
The youth worked to clean a bit and made a plan together for the next time they visit with her. They walked away with a sense of accomplishment and a sense of true joy. They saw her gratitude and her joy that bubbled over, all of which brought out some deep conversations with the adolescents. Their own grumbling about things in life quickly dissipated for the moment. They were brainstorming so many ways they could potentially help. Taking our focus off of our own needs, even for a short time, lifts the spirit and offers hope.
They are eager to go again real soon and continue the project they started. Perhaps this would encourage us to look around and see a need and reach out to help. Thanks for the encouragement young people!