The spirit of helping others was instilled in me at a young age. I was always a bright child, and I started tutoring my classmates as early as second grade. In sixth grade, I spent most of my time in the hall helping one of the other kids in my class, and when I was actually IN the classroom, I was expected to help a group of other students with their work. Needless to say, I didn't learn much of anything that year. In seventh grade, I was still at the top of my class. In math I wasn't even expected to listen to the lessons, and instead I would spend my time reading a Cliff's Notes book on algebra. Then I would complete my assignment while walking around the classroom helping everyone else. That year I also joined a competitive math team called Mathcounts. I was the only seventh grader on the team. I was in Mathcounts again the next year, but it is only for middle schoolers, so I had to quit when I entered ninth grade.
During this time, I had started helping out with Habitat for Humanity when they needed volunteers. This was a lot different from tutoring, since it was a more physical way of helping out. Habitat for Humanity uses volunteers to build houses for families with financial need. I did miss teaching, so with my extra time I started participating in the HOSTS program at Custer, a local elementary school. HOSTS stands for Help One Student To Succeed, and the program matches students with mentors who tutor them in reading and math skills. I tutored four days a week in ninth grade and two days a week in tenth. (I started working and it cut out a lot of my free time.) Last year, the HOSTS program was abolished at Custer Elementary, but many other schools across the nation still use this program. I have decided to keep helping out at Custer, though now I'm more like a classroom assistant. I help out at least two days a week, sometimes more. I've also gotten some of my friends to help out from time to time.
I also participated in March of Dimes and Relay for Life in the past year. March of Dimes funds research on causes of premature births and childhood diseases, and Relay for Life funds research for cancer treatments.
In addition I am in 4-H, where I enjoy making crafts for the fair. Last year I made a large string art ship which I later donated to the Frenchtown Senior Center for their charity auction. It was sold for $210 and redonated to the center to be hung in the front hall over the fireplace.
Years ago, our club participated in Adopt-a-highway, and even after the club quit, I spent many years by myself or with my family, picking up trash and recyclables off of the side of the road.
As you can see, I believe that volunteering is worthwhile. I am always looking for new ways to help out. If you would like more information, or know of an organization you would like mentioned, please e-mail me or sign my guestbook and I will get back to you.