I had the chance to serve as a volunteer for the Salvation Army, and it was a position that had a huge effect on my life, perception, and commitment. My memories of serving as a volunteer in a community welfare group over the holidays are also clear in my memory. The ability to provide free care to the welfare group provided an opportunity to assist the underprivileged at a time when everybody else was uninterested. The only thing I could worry about on my way to the welfare community planning conference was the age difference. A significant number of members were in their late 50’s, and many sat in isolated groups chatting weighty and great matters as they consolidated the cash raised from the various sub-groups.
However, my young age among the elderly did not deter me from bonding with those people since I considered the whole situation as an opportunity to learn. I liked the stories told by the elderly about the experiences they went through at my age. Tales were fascinating, full of interesting details, knowledge, and wisdom. Suddenly, the conversations shifted course to world wars and how they influenced personal and family lives of people. The stories were concerning the losses of loved ones and the psychological traumas brought with it. The elderly taught the young on how to deal with the adverse experiences in wartime. Their advice and knowledge instilled a level of confidence in me, and I felt motivated to handle all the challenges in life. The first-hand true-life stories made me memorize the class literature in the novel “The Old Man and the Sea” which emphasized on the importance of pursuing one’s goals regardless of what others feel, just like Santiago, the protagonist in the novel.
Spending more time with the elderly experienced individuals taught me on how to deal with challenges in life as they narrated their real life stories from the past of what they had to endure to embrace and accept diverse personalities. Moreover, working as a volunteer gave me the opportunity to face and figure out ways of solving issues that arose from group members. As a result, I gained leadership skills from the people who demonstrated how to handle matters without jumping to premature conclusions. In a nutshell, an exposure in the community group environment and interaction with the elderly reinforced my understanding of the literature taught in class as well as the motivation to tackle challenges with more positive attitude.