Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reflections of a High School Youth Ambassador - What could be better than providing community service?

When students realize that impressive academics is only one characteristic of a well rounded and successful student, they begin to value learning experiences outside of the classroom, such as community service, much more. Community service is one thing that, as a High School Youth Ambassador, I have devoted much of my free time to.
I believe that the act of serving the community gives students like me a learning experience that is just as valuable, if not more, than a classroom learning experience. During the course of my high school years, I have participated in countless community service projects and have held positions of leadership on the advisory board of the Newseum (news history museum) in Washington, D.C. and the Youth Ambassadors UNICEF Club. I value community service greatly and can honestly say that the community service projects I have participated in have helped shape who I am today. I believe in the quote by Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the world," and have personally witnessed that with the right plan, a lot of hard work, and big hearts, even a few high school students can get together and make great things happen.

Some of my most cherished high school memories are actually those from community service events that my friends and I have participated in. Whether we were making ConKerr Cancer pillowcases to deliver to young cancer patients in local hospitals, fundraising to help alleviate the troubles of water shortages in less economically developed nations, or advocating against teen dating violence within our own community, we were always excited to participate, anxious to learn, and pleased to be making a difference.

Knowing that something I do, no matter how small it is, can benefit the life of someone else is what keeps me willing to continue participating in community service projects, yet, when volunteering, I not only get the satisfaction of helping others, but I am also able to learn more about myself (my skills and interests) and the world around me. One instance where community service has helped me become a more informed citizen is when the Youth Ambassadors UNICEF Club was advocating the importance of water and the affects of water scarcity in less economically developed nations.  In order to successfully advocate this, it was necessary for me to learn all about it; learning about how hard a basic necessity like water is to obtain for some people inspired me to conserve more water and stop taking it for granted. I have enjoyed participating in community service projects so much that I have even based my career plans for the future on it and am planning to continue to serve the community for as long as I can. Mother Theresa once said, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."

I am proud of all of the community service that I have done as a High School Youth Ambassador and am also proud to be a role model for younger students, such as my two little brothers. I am glad that they can learn, from me, the value and importance of community service, not only for the community, but for their personal enrichment as well.  I owe a lot to the school faculty and sponsors who were willing to devote their rare free time to guiding me and my peers through community service projects. None of it could be possible without them. Consequently, I believe that community service should be strongly encouraged in all schools, and am thankful for the community service opportunities that were given to me as a High School Youth Ambassador.    

Djellza Ramadani