As a student leader of the GRCC “Pass it Forward” event, I saw firsthand the effects that such a great program had on the recipients as well as the volunteers.
There were about 150 people who attended the event, and these people were split into about five groups. Each group went to a nonprofit organization in the community to do volunteer work with the hope the good deeds would be passed forward.
My group’s assignment was to throw a “party” at Senior Neighbors, a nonprofit organization where seniors are able to spend the day. We were given $25 to contribute to the party, and the culinary students baked pecan pies for us to give to the seniors.
When my group of five arrived at the organization, the number of pies we had outnumbered the amount of people there. But we cut into the pie to serve the present people, and they were quite grateful, responding with many “thank yous.”
Not really knowing what to do, the members of my group dispersed and sat with the seniors in an effort to feel productive in some way.
But the truth was, we did not need to be “doing” anything; they were just happy we were there. All it took to strike up a conversation was to sit with someone and introduce ourselves.
Soon, all of the volunteers were laughing and talking or playing games with the seniors.
Each group had a quote to think about and relate to their experiences volunteering. My group’s quote read: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” –Oprah Winfrey
Something I noticed about the seniors is they seemed so thankful for what we were doing, even though it was not much. They simply enjoyed our company.
We, as students, can learn a lot from these seniors. They seem to be the epitome of the message Winfrey is trying to send with her quote.
For people who may have good excuses to be angry or bitter—some who have deteriorating health—they just seem happy to be in each other’s company. And they were so grateful for just the smallest acts of kindness.