Service and its Relations
Throughout the first two years of my high school career, I was never too concerned about getting involved in my school’s campus ministry. I think it was mostly for the reason that none of my closest friends were involved so I felt out of place to join without any of them. I was proven wrong when I joined campus ministry my junior year. Getting involved with campus ministry had greatly changed my view on life and others in my surrounding communities. I never truly understood how it felt to take part in service and I’m so glad that I have.
My favorite service project that I helped out with was Carolina Hill. Carolina Hill is a shelter for single mothers who need temporary assistance until they can get back on their feet. The students from my school would volunteer to go after school and help take care of the kids while the mothers had a chance to run errands, go to appointments, etc. This was the first service project I got involved in in high school and I am still thankful today that I got to be a part of it. My junior year at Carolina Hill, I made friends with an eight year old boy, Dante. As the weeks went on, Dante and I became really close because our personalities were so much a like; we both loved to laugh and joke around. Each week Dante would open up more and more of his life story, which is what moved me the most. He explained that he and his mom had never lived in an actual house and that he had never met his dad before. He also explained to me that every year for christmas, he wouldn’t ask santa for any toys but just asked that his mom would be able to find an actual house for them to live in. Hearing his story, it really opened my eyes to how much in life I had taken for granted and how much I should appreciate the things I have.
From being able to build such a close relationship, I volunteered to come back in the spring in hopes that Dante hadn’t moved. When I returned, it was bittersweet to learn that he and his mom had found a home and that he had been enrolled in an adequate elementary school. Senior year had come and it was time to volunteer for service again; I chose Carolina Hill. To my surprise, Dante and his mom had come back to the shelter and in my mix of emotions, I was happy that I once again had Dante to bond and spend time with. Through the passing weeks, Dante had explained to me his fear of being alone and having no one to talk to when his mom wasn’t there. I had reassured him that I would always be here to support him, but deep down I had a feeling he meant something more than just me.
Throughout the readings The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “I Wandered Lonely as a Child” by William Wordsworth, I could definitely relate my service experience to them. In The Birthmark, Aylmer, the scientist and husband, tries to persuade his wife, Georgiana, that she should get her birthmark removed. Georgiana disagrees with Aylmer and on the contrary, likes her noticeable birthmark. I mostly relate this story to Dante’s story. Dante had been different than all the other kids at the shelter. He had been more willing to identify himself truthfully rather than feed me a story that would have seemed less harsh. Dante was always proud of his mom and always expressed his true emotions. The theme of The Birthmark is that every human being has a unique trait that contributes to their own story and he or she should be accepted for who they truly are. According to Aylmer, Georgiana’s trait was seen as a flaw. In my opinion, Dante’s case is a stepping stone for the building of his own character and his story is what makes him an individual.
In the story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the main character is described to be a mental patient and is put in solitary confinement under the request of her husband. The doctors say that she is not allowed to write, which is one of her true passions in life. On top of that restriction, the room she is confined to is portrayed as a dark and depressing setting. The main character quickly becomes uncomfortable and finds the only way to pass the time is to stare at the wall. The theme that I took from the story was to always be a supportive person in a relationship no matter what. During my time with Dante, I could clearly see the support that he gave to his mom and the support that she gave back to him.
In the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Child” by William Wordsworth, the speaker is first stricken by the feeling of loneliness. However, whenever the thought or memory of daffodils comes up, the speaker is in a happier state and the whole persona changes. I definitely connect this with Dante. This is because even though his story may not have been the happiest of circumstances, spending time with his friends, mom, or even me, was able to make him forget about the past and live in the present with happy thoughts and memories. I personally think I was able to help Dante feel better at times because I had always been able to be a constant in his life. The theme of the poem is that no matter what is going on around you, one must learn to live in the moment and be happy for what he or she has with them. That is something that Dante was always able to demonstrate strongly and I am so proud of that.