By: Sefeda L. (YES 2019 – 2020, Albania, hosted by Aspect in Broomfield, CO)
I have experienced many wonderful things since my arrival to the U.S. but I wanted to share the most wonderful activity I have done until now. Today, another YES student and I, Nadeen S. from Israel (Arab Communities), started our first community service hours, accompanied by our amazing host families.
First, we drove to Denver and stopped at a place which was attended by volunteers to pack lunches for homeless people. I enjoyed doing this so much that I lost track of time. There were many volunteers at this site, and nine other groups of people were doing the same lunch-packing activity as us, but in other cities, meaning that 900 homeless people would receive lunch today, just because we decided to dedicate a short period of time in our day to such a good cause!
After we packed the lunches, I thought that we were going to leave, but then the most wonderful thing happened: we were notified that we were going to give away the lunch boxes that we packed ourselves. So, we separated into groups, set up a meeting point for each group, and then arranged ourselves in lines, each one of us holding a packed lunch, ready to hand them to people. I could not help but notice how people reacted when we handed them out. People’s eyes lit up, and they seemed really happy and continued to thank us after they received their lunch. They kept saying things such as, “God bless you,” and my heart was immediately filled with pure happiness. Acts like these provide hope and warmth for many people who are in need of either. I learned that if you give small pieces of yourself to people, they will return them to you in the ways that they are able to. I witnessed sincere smiles, serene and happy faces and a very joyous atmosphere.
Today, I allowed myself to learn more about how important our contribution to society is and how important it is for a group of people to gather for a specific cause. Even a small, spontaneous decision can make another person realize that they are wanted, worthy, that they are being thought of and that they have endless support if they need it. I learned that in helping others and contributing to society’s well-being, we also help ourselves grow and improve our own mindsets. Although the only intention today was to help others, I discovered that, in doing so, I also elicited some very valuable, unforgettable lessons for myself. By the end of the day, I said to myself, “This is one thing that I want to keep doing as much as possible while in the U.S.”
Lastly, I learned how important it is not to take anything in our lives for granted and to maintain a positive and grateful attitude towards everything that our life consists of. I felt like I had fully changed as a person just within those hours because I found myself appreciating my surroundings more than usual. I can truly consider this day as one of my best days in the U.S., and I am looking forward to experiencing many more similar, volunteering-filled days.