This I Believe

Dana - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 15, 2006

Learning through Volunteerism

Making the transition from middle school to high school was already a challenge within itself; the environment would be completely different for me. Within the first couple school days, I learn that I am required to complete two hundred hours of community service by the end of my high school career. Initially, I thought these would be the most dreaded hours of my life, spending my weekend volunteering. However, now as a junior in high school, I believe in the lessons that volunteering can teach.

For example, over the summer, I volunteered at the local American Red Cross working as the donor escort, a volunteer that helps to ensure the donor makes it to the canteen without any trouble after donating blood. Usually, I sit in a chair watching all of the donors and waiting for the next person I can assist. One day, I see a young girl come in ready to donate blood. As I bring the needle and equipment needed for the blood drawing, she begins to shake nervously. Since it is my job to make sure she is feeling alright before the blood drawing begins, I ask her, “Is there something I can do for you, to make you more comfortable?” She responds telling me that she simply has an extreme phobia of needles.

I was shocked to learn of her colossal fear of needles, seeing how she was at a blood bank. In an effort to make her even the slightest bit comfortable, I got her a blanket and pillow. Soon after, the nurse begins to take out the equipment, including the needles, and I see even more fear instilled within her. With her leg twitching nervously and her forehead beginning to sweat, the blood is being drawn; while all of this is happening, I see her mumbling under her breath, “I’m saving a life doing this. I’m saving a life doing this” during the blood donation process. When the blood drawing finished, I escorted her to the canteen and she made it through the whole blood donating process.

While volunteering at a blood bank, I never would have thought that I could witness something so inspirational. The ability to overcome personal phobias for the sake of doing a good deed was a lesson well taught by volunteering at the American Red Cross. Her ability to overcome her own personal fear of needles to ultimately save another person’s life was something I am glad I witnessed. For this, I believe in learning through volunteerism.