SV seniors learn by giving
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
“Watching someone put so much determination into just walking for 10 minutes gives you the determination to get through the ups and downs in your own life,” said Brianna Martin.
“If they are there for just a week, that week should be the best week of their life,” said Morgan Larson.
“I discovered I have a gift — that I can help other people by just giving a little bit of my time,” concluded Kimya Baradaran.
Martin, Larson and Baradaran are seniors at St. Vincent High School. Part of their education at St. Vincent includes doing volunteer service in the community for their entire high school careers. As those careers wound down, each senior presented his or her senior portfolio review. The students had just 15 minutes each to recap what, for some, were life-altering experiences, and what, for all, were valuable learning experiences.
Martin had a number of experiences, including volunteering for the local Relay for Life fundraising event for the American Cancer Society and participating in the school's Ambassador and Mentor Program. But her most memorable volunteer effort was at the Renaissance Healing Center, a therapy center in Cotati that utilizes hippotherapy (treatment with the help of horses) to aid people with neurological and orthopedic conditions. It was the work at the hippotherapy center that made a strong impression.
“It helped me combine the things I love most — horses and helping people,” she explained. “Working with the horses not only helped people with their movement and coordination, but there was the emotional and mental aspect as well.”
It also gave here a new appreciation for her own life.
“I saw people work really hard to walk from one place to another. To see someone put so much determination into just walking for 10 minutes gives you the determination to get through the ups and downs in your own life,” Martin noted.
Larson's community service revolved around children. She volunteered at Kamp Khaos, Cycle Without Limits, Cross and Crown Vacation Bible School and Training Wheels Pre-School.
She said she learned that not only is every child important, but every experience is important.
“If they are there even for just a week, that week should be their best week of their life,” she said of her experience at Kamp Khaos.
She noted that to work with children, especially children with special needs, you have to be loving, trusting, patient, kind and believe in them.
Larson said her community service reinforced her desire to be a teacher.
Baradaran wants to be a doctor, so her community service led her to volunteering at Novato Community Hospital.
Like most of the St. Vincent seniors, she not only learned more than she expected about health care, but also about herself.
“There was something different every week,” she noted.
While she served meals, cleaned up, made beds and followed doctors and nurses, Baradaran came to some conclusions about the medical system. Among other things, she noted that medical care is not equally available to all. “There needs to be less costly health insurance,” she said.
Baradaran also said she found out much about herself. “I discovered I have a gift,” she said. “That I can help other people by giving a little bit of my time. When you volunteer, get more than you give.”
Many other organizaions benefited from the volunteer efforts of the St. Vincent students, but each effort ended with the dual result of helping the community and helping the volunteers discover more about themselves.
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