Being in the Kesher program, I understand what it is like being different. Sometimes, I feel overlooked. However, I’ve learned it is good to be different; I don’t want to be the same as everyone. Our differences are what unite us. People tend to ignore me sometimes, which is why I took on volunteering, specifically with special needs kids, in the first place. I’ve learned that giving people your undivided attention is the key to maintaining strong relationships and subsequently a healthy life. Kesher allows me to get the attention I need, and I want to help others who feel they need some extra attention as well. If my parents had not put me in Kesher, my grades and attitude about school would not be what they are today. I also believe I would not be the person I am today, as Kesher has provided the extra push for me to succeed. When I started assisting special needs kids, it was stressful and hard at times since many unfortunately lack some basic skills. However, the stresses all disappeared once I realized the amazing impact volunteering has.
When I started my volunteering journey with Friendship Circle in 2018, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to help kids who have special needs. I learned how to be calm and relaxed with them, which enables me to understand how to help them best. Disabilities I have worked with include Autism, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome, and behavioral disorders. Everyone has different needs, and I must try to help each person individually in the best possible way. The picture on the cover of this article is of me and one of my many campers in Friendship Circle. Last summer, my campers and I went to the Frost Museum on a field trip. I was very excited for them to have this experience and forget about some of the difficulties in their lives for a moment. I know exactly what that feeling – to leave your struggles behind and do something you love – is like. So, I longed to make that field trip the best it possibly could be, and the satisfaction after the event was one of the best feelings I had ever experienced.
What exactly does volunteering mean? It means helping one another whenever someone needs it. It doesn’t mean it has to be for community service; it can simply be to stop what you are doing and spend time with others instead of thinking about yourself. Volunteering has several benefits; it boosts self esteem, helps job resumes, allows people to make an impact, relieves stress, and more. Senior Nicole Feldman states that volunteering means “Taking time to do for others and giving back to our community. It is really important for us to help others and do our best in making the world a better and happier place, and volunteering has benefits on both sides. We are really fortunate to have all that we need.” Senior Natalie Abramowitz similarly states that “Volunteering to me is a way to connect with my community and to meet and build relationships with new people who share the same values as me.” When I am not doing school work or being with family or friends, I think about ways to help others, especially special needs children. I know I want to continue this passion in the future, and everyone else should too in hopes of both personal growth and contributing towards a brighter, more loving future.