Giving Back to the Community, Giving Back to Yourself

Hannah Webb, Editor-in-Chief

Recently, I helped organize an event for Student Council called “Valentines for the Elderly.” The idea had become my brainchild over the past year, after I’d first thought of it when I had to create a project proposal to run for a student body officer position. At first, the idea was nothing more than a concept I’d created as an assignment, but the more I thought about it, the more passionate I became about carrying out this idea.

At a basic level, my plan for the project entailed creating Valentines cards for elderly residents in assisted living centers throughout the city of Keller and delivering the cards along with some cookies to the residents on Valentine’s Day. Once we delivered the gifts, Student Council would spend an hour or two talking to the residents and getting to know them.

I pitched the idea to fellow Student Council members twice, and that was all it took to get the ball rolling. In the beginning of February, two members of my planning committee and I began preparation for the event. We had workdays where we created cards and baked the cookies to be taken to the residents.

On Valentine’s Day, we arrived at the Legacy at Bear Creek facility with around 30 to 40 Student Council members. I was nervous. I had never organized a service project before, and what if everything I had so meticulously planned for fell through? What if the residents didn’t want anything from us?

The second we entered the building and started interacting with the residents, my worries dissolved. Seeing the smiles on the faces of all the residents there was astounding, and I was reminded yet again why I chose to participate in Student Council for the past four years of my high school career: people. To meet people, to connect with people, to learn from people,  to serve people, and most of all to touch their lives in a way unprecedented to them before.

I met so many residents that day, with so many different talents: a man named Jack who was a former trial lawyer, a woman named Ruby whose fingers glided like magic over piano keys and who had a passion for singing, a woman named Mary Ann who could make anybody in a room laugh, no matter what kind of day they were having.

Among all these unique residents, one thing was common: every single one of them asked me to “come back soon; we don’t get many visitors here,” with a shining smile. For me, that was more rewarding than any other prize could’ve been.

This story means one thing: don’t ever hesitate to step out of your comfort zone to help somebody else. It will most definitely make their day, and it might even make yours too. No matter how much you might think that community service is just an excuse to get a cord at graduation, it’s much more than that. It’s about touching other people’s lives and leaving them changed. Take the time to serve others. Take the time to help them. You might even help yourself in the process.