It is important to me that the girls volunteer but it is also important to me that they are not forced or coerced because that negates the very definition of volunteering. When I think of volunteering I recall the Gilmore Girls episode when Paris is having a meltdown because her resume is not padded with volunteering and she frantically begins calling shelters at Thanksgiving and is told they have no need for her, which sends her further into her meltdown because how will Harvard accept her without this volunteer work?
Sadly, this scene is all too true among many teens, especially those caught up in college admissions drama.
"If you want to be important-wonderful. If you want to be recognized-wonderful. If you want to be great-wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.
And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant."
The Drum Major Instinct, February 4, 1968 Atlanta Georgia
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Volunteering is not about collecting service hours for high school credit or meeting an obligation set forth by school or church. Volunteering is about giving a part of yourself freely to someone else and discovering a bit more about who you are and what makes you great in the process.
Grace and Lilah have had the opportunity to volunteer at a YMCA that offers programming to families of children with Down Syndrome. Most recently they participated in World Down Syndrome Day hosted by 21 Strong. Grace was an aide to a 10 year old girl and Lilah spend the afternoon in the arts and crafts room. Both had an incredible experience and both would love to do this again.
I did put this on Grace’s academic resume, but only to highlight the many things she is interested in. She is curious about working with children, utilizing her sign language skills, and perhaps teaching music. This experience is relevant to her goals. She learned a little bit more about herself while she gave a bit of herself to someone else. There is such beauty in watching your child mature right before your eyes.