Valeria F.

To help means to give part of ourselves to the ones around us.

However, sometimes the word “to donate” may sound scary, we think this may cause a material loss and not an inner gift.

Sometimes we are not willing to donate ourselves to others, just pretending “I don’t have enough time” or “I am not that kind of person who volunteer..”

I am 16 years old, that age when you don’t like to spend your Fridays and Saturdays with elderly people in a care home, or with people with mental diseases.

Spending some time with them has changed myself, has made me better and helped me to understand that I don’t want to be that kind of person who close the eyes when facing hard situations. This experience has pushed me to lend my hand, even if it may seems so little and insignificant.

At the beginning, it’s not that easy to deal with them, you don’t know how to relate and how to behave: you are just there, surrounded by strangers who look at you with sweet glances, who look at you like you are the adult and they are just kids to engage and entertain. 

The first time you introduce yourself, they look down on you, with sky smiles, they move away, they hide behind the educators, they consider if you are trustworthy. 

Delicately, you start talking, playing, dancing and really taking care of them, from a glass of water for a simple headache, to a deep support when they feel sad.

You start realizing they love you when they recognize you, they look for you, they wait for you, hug you, consider you as “a friend”. 

When they first told me “how pretty you are”, “you are my friend”, I felt so proud of myself and full of joy because I had been able to dedicate my time to them who really needed love and support, and I forgot – even just for a while – my own concerns and worries. 

I admit that sometimes it’s hard but despite the effort, what they give you is much more than any issue or weakness. 

I recommend to adults and teenagers to volunteer, I think there’s not a perfect age to do that, you just have to desire it. It’s not that easy, is a real commitment. 

Volunteer work, any kind of, brings you gratification and let you know better the world you live in, with all its obstacles. It also get you to know your own limits, your personality, your desires, your humanity.