Shaping Myself through Helping Others

Lauren - Hiram, Georgia
Entered on January 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Since I was a baby I have participated in beauty pageants, but it was not until I was a teenager that community service became a huge part of my duties for becoming the winner. Community service activities such as helping at the Georgia Special Olympics, making visits to nursing homes, participating in Relay for Life, as well as many other volunteer activities are now an enormous part of my life through pageants. I believe that through helping others and participating in community service, one can become a better person. Now, at 18 years old, I have realized that I have gained more respect for the people I have helped, and the volunteer service always gives me a great feeling because I have assisted those in need.

One particular event that stands out in my mind is a visit I took to the Paulding County Nursing Home a few days prior to Thanksgiving. Some other pageant winners and I made up over two-hundred goodie bags consisting of lotion, Kleenex, Chap Stick, snacks, and hand-written Thanksgiving letters to give to each person in the nursing home. We walked around the nursing home and delivered the bags to each room, and many of the elderly men and women wanted us to read our letters to them. The letters were written about what we thought Thanksgiving meant, and we also wished them a Merry Christmas. The elderly were so nice to me during the visit, and many of them asked for a hug. Just by giving them a hug, a great feeling came about me because I realized something so simple made them feel so special. This one visit changed me because I learned to be even more grateful for my family, health, and well-being. I also learned to be more respectful towards the elderly because many of them are viewed in a negative way and are less fortunate than most. Therefore, this visit led me to become a better person.

Community service activities have made me a greater person because I took a portion of my time, during those events, to do something that benefits those in need. Not only does volunteer work help others and make them feel special, but it is also fun. Putting together the goodie bags at the nursing home was nowhere near boring. I had a great time and took a lot of pictures to keep as memories. However, I kept in mind that I was there to help others, making them feel special, and in turn shaping me into a better person.