Volunteerism, the Highest Virtue of All
“The highest of distinctions is service to others.”—King George IV. This is a motto that I have acclaimed in my own life. It has allowed me to create a sense of equilibrium in my scattered teenage life. Volunteering has become a regular element of my life’s routines. It has offered me opportunities, resources and significant virtues that I am able to conduct my life with. Volunteering is about helping the community, but also about helping myself.
My extensive volunteering journey started a few years prior at the age of 13. I was merely searching for an extracurricular activity, and I knew I loved to be involved in my community. I found a sanctuary within the volunteering niche at Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC). However, I was not aware of how great of an impact this little niche would have on my life as a citizen of this world.
This year I was fortunate enough to join the YVC of Calgary Steering committee. This opportunity has allowed me to be a part of the creation of the volunteer projects and events at YVC of Calgary. As a result a group of four youth, including myself, created a recreational day at a local retirement home for one our volunteering projects. This establishment specializes in isolated seniors. Being the instigators of this project, we were dedicated to attending the projects every Saturday.
I was ecstatic by the embrace that we received from the seniors. But this was not a result that came so easily. The beginning of our projects were slow, however, we managed wrangle a few seniors to play some cards and pool with us. By having to endure through this project and to see our effort transform into a reality, gave me the sense of accomplishment. Interacting with the seniors at these volunteer projects also provided me with a perception most of my generation tends to escape these days. This has provided me a sense of order and balance, if you will, of the direction of society. We have been able to hinder the negative view of youth as well in our community through the acts of volunteerism.
One particular senior I was privileged enough to meet, was a lady by the name of Arlie. Through a car accident many years ago, she had become a quadriplegic. I, along with another companion visited her during the projects to help her with various household chores. But most importantly, I got to experience her fascinating exuberance and grace. These little visits have taught me the significance of overcoming the slighter things in life and to never take anything for granted. I always complain about having to walk everywhere, but then I think of Arlie. She has given me the benefit of realizing the blessings of youth and health. Through volunteering at this one seniors’ home, I have awoken to many of life’s most important virtues. These are the factors that have created and will continue to morph my life into a well-rounded journey.
Another significant volunteering experience that I have been able to be a part of this year is the International Youth Advisory Board (IYAB). As a part of IYAB’s Growing YVC Committee, my fellow peers and I are responsible for spreading YVC branches to further parts of North America. It is an honor to be a part of a team that strives to spread volunteerism in a variety of communities. We are in the works of contacting various potential host organizations in select cities and towns to initiate a possible communal project between these programs and an YVC branch. Our group realizes that Rome was not built in a day. However, we feel optimistic that our precursory steps will triumph towards our end goal: to further promote and spread youth volunteerism all over the world.
Volunteering is not only a method of helping others, but it is also about the overall sense of community that one tends to gain from such experiences. My volunteer journey has allowed me to creep outside of my own borders and to revel in the glories of helping the people of my community. The act of volunteering has also provided me with the unique perception of acknowledging and being grateful for the blessing I am fortuned with. These have all become essential virtues that I presently lead my life with every day. As King George suggested, volunteerism is truly the most virtuous service to all.
Rebecca Yang volunteers with YVC of Calgary and is a member of YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board.