Often it is depressing when I overhear the constant complaining of people ‘needing to volunteer.’ In my completely biased opinion, volunteering is a necessity. Generally being able to even attend college proves the privilege which countless of others are unable to participate in. In the end, the entirety of our memory will be consistent upon what we did for other people. My personal volunteering experience stems from my religious group affiliations with the belief that the best feeling in the world is the knowledge that something you did will help someone or contribute to something. In the duration of my Thanksgiving break I came upon a volunteering opportunity of such where I had the ability to create a difference in the environment; A creek cleanup so it was called, took a group of 12 people approximately 5 hours to completely rid the area of pollutants.
The most important aspect I’ve seen when attending a volunteering project is your attitude; Being ready for any situation at hand with a smile will enable you to not only persevere others to continue to but uplift your spirits as well. Secondly is being prepared with everything needed to complete the task; When you arrive prepared you instantly are able to dive into volunteering. Creek cleaning is an arduous task; If someone would ask me for advice when going for one the only thing I’d say is to be ready for sweating and bugs! All jokes aside it was an incredible opportunity for me to be able to participate in a creek cleanup.
The day officially started out with a the group of people including myself showing up at 8am to discuss tactics which were to be employed to most efficiently pickup all the litter. We went ahead to split into 4 separate groups of 3 people each. In my group were two of my friends which of whom we were ready to give our best effort in cleaning up. The first hour or so we set up in a corner of the creek littered with plastic bags, bottles and other various items. As I walked across the water I glanced to the right and saw mounds of garbage: cardboard boxes, plastic bags, random scraps of paper and an old broken TV.
The T.V caught everyones attention immediately as we rushed towards it pondering upon a way to safely remove it from the floor and to a proper waste disposal. We knew the dangerous of old televisions and the toxins which lay behind with it and used our gloves to pickup the individual pieces of glass scattered along the floor of the creek bed. Only after we properly disposed of all the glass and harmful material to us we then started to remove the actual television. Out of the 12 people present during that day came 6 together to lift and haul the television up towards the land above the creek.
This opportunity assisted us in seeing the dangers which we pose to the environment as well. As humans we pose the biggest threat to the environment. Sure hurricanes, tornadoes and even volcanoes do wipe out a a lot of nature & adversely effect our climate but we are still the major contributing factor to the ultimate degradation of the environment. So the day continued; The middle of the day brought in the need to regroup and accumulate our trash for proper placement in a trailer we had brought out. As we coerced each other to bring more trash into the trailer we grabbed our lunch and drank water to stay hydrated and energetic. Eventually we headed back to a different section of the creek where there was yet again trash scattered across.
Only this time we had a trash grabber which helped us in facilitating the overall process for us to gain more trash, cleaning up the creek easier. By the end of our volunteering the creek had looked reasonably better, with the threat of toxins virtually or at least hopefully gone. My attitude during these few hours helped me to drag on though the continuous walking and at times boring situations which I was placed. Keeping a positive attitude and completely devoting yourself towards the service of others will in my view help you achieve your ultimate goal.
Only few remained as the end of the day came. I did not have much else to do at the time so I offered to help throw away all the trash and remaining scraps of the TV and trash in the proper garbage. It was me and 3 other people including the supervisor for the event. We all gathered our things and headed out with the trailer to the trash compactor/garbage disposal in Plano. It was quite a relief finally sitting down after some time. On my way to the compactor I questioned my participation in this event and contemplated on aspects of volunteerism, was it only because of a requirement for school which I came? Or was it because of my own initiative and want to help our community.
Every person should have this general thought; If you volunteer just for hours then there is no true benefit for you. Engaging yourself, and believing that each and every action you take is an action towards the improvement of the life of everyone, you will will possibly influence yourself to do more in the future. Just as I finished thinking to myself and talking with the other volunteer members we reached the compactor. I saw the heaps of waste being poured and compacted. Most people wold have been in disbelief but these days I only expect to see this amount of garbage and even more.
Volunteering is not an activity, it is a service and we should let volunteering teach us gratitude and modesty. Gratitude in the sense that we do not live in other countries where there are major environmental problems which limit so many people from doing normal activities. Modesty in reference to others, being able to keep our service to ourselves, there is no thanks needed for things that should be done. Hopefully my experience and thoughts on this experience can reach out to whoever is reading this and yet again specify that volunteering should be part of your life, a service to show your appreciation to all.