Why I Give: A Volunteer’s Perspective

MaddieWith the holidays blooming on the horizon, I wanted to take a moment on why I give through volunteering.

I can remember the time when I realized exactly how much I was making a difference. The first time I volunteered was my first year in high school, and I had just learned that I needed to get sixty hours, a daunting number, of community service. I did some research online and the Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City popped up. I found a weekly project that worked for me, and signed up immediately.

My first day of working with the children at Bethel Neighborhood Center was life-changing. Seeing the way the kids’ faces lit up when they saw the volunteers was exhilarating, and being able to interact, joke and help the kids was something I had never experienced before. I left Bethel that day with a smile the size of Mars on my face.

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The next week, one of the kids came up to me and handed me a drawing. It was a drawing of me and her, holding hands, with the caption “Thank you for everything.” A realization hit me right then; I am making a difference in kids’ lives. Through just one small hour and a half out of my week, I put smiles on kids’ faces. I have now volunteered at Bethel for three years, and have expanded my volunteering throughout YVC. Although I’ve had so many wonderful experiences volunteering with YVC, the one I am most thankful for (and the one that kept me volunteering) was that very first day at Bethel.

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Maddie Tolsdorf serves on the International Youth Advisory Board in addition to being a volunteer with YVC of Greater Kansas City. She has volunteered nearly 300 hours (and counting!) with YVC in the last two years.

Why do you give? Snap an unselfie and share it with the hashtag #LivetoGive. Find more details about unselfies, Giving Tuesday, and how to have your donation matched here.