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Reflections on Volunteering

Reflections on Volunteering

Reflections on Volunteering

I am going to start at the beginning. Lone Peak High school decided to help Neighborhood House for their fundraising Gold Rush this year. In summary, Neighborhood House is an organization devoted to helping these children and providing them with a place to learn, play, eat, and to be during the hours of the day. The people that run this organization are absolutely remarkable and completely selfless. They are all about loving these kids. In addition to an amazing staff, the Neighborhood House has absolutely inspiring kids. I had the opportunity to interact with many of them but there are a few scenarios that just melted my heart.

lone peak janessaI have made a new best friend over the course of interacting with them. She has black curly hair that is always in two perfect buns on top of her head, with mismatching ponytails. She is the sweetest little girl you will ever meet. The first time I went to the Neighborhood house, my group was assigned to go to a preschool classroom. When we went in the kids were having “cooking time”. When the five of us walked in, the kids just rushed to us. They started hugging us and laughing and smiling, even though they had never met us before. Each of us had a child hanging on an arm, and a leg, along with someone on our back. They absolutely loved us! And we absolutely loved them! While we were sitting there, we read stories and just held the kids on our laps. Then, we went outside to play. We met up with a bunch of the other classrooms and just ran around. It was so much fun. Between jumping in the leaves, riding bikes, playing tag, and building sandcastles, all you could see was smiles all around. My new friend and I rode the dinosaur toy for a long time, pretending like we were on a wild adventure. Then we went back inside and had story time, and each of the children had their personal favorites that they insisted on us reading. While we were sitting there with the kids, I had one on each side of me holding my hand, and a friend in my lap. I was just in amazement how loving these kids are and how much they love any attention that they can get. When we were leaving I was saying goodbye to the little girl I’d befriended and I gave her a hug. She hugged me so tightly and whispered in my ear, “You’re my friend.”

lone peak tricycle

A few weeks later, we went up for a Thanksgiving dinner. As we served these children and their parents, they were overjoyed. The countless “Thank yous” continued throughout the night. A few other people and I were talking about how we wanted to see our friends again. We each had interacted closely with one or two kids and we had a special connection with them. Some of us were assigned to pass out books and blankets to the families. The room we were in had a perfect view of outside. At one point we looked outside and we saw the class that we had played with last time. Each of us were shouting out “There’s Malcolm! There’s Christopher! Oh my gosh, look!” We all were seeing our little friends and were overjoyed. Two of us just wanted to go and hug lone peak parachutethem so bad that we took a quick little mission to go see our friends again. When I went out there I saw the sweet girl I had bonded with again. Her back was turned to me and she was standing next to the play set. We talked to the teacher for a second, and asked if we could play with the kids and explained that we had met them all last time. The answer was an obvious “Of course,” and we instantly headed over to our specific friend. I quickly embraced mine and said “Do you remember me?” These kids are continuously being introduced to new people so I wouldn’t have been surprised if she didn’t remember me. Much to my surprise, she, in her quiet, almost silent voice, responded, “You’re Ness, and you’re my friend.” Now call me a baby, but that made a tear trickle down my cheek. I hugged her so tightly for such a long time. We played just as if we had known each other for years, and when I said goodbye, her words were the same, “You’re Ness, and you’re my friend.”

Each one of the students from our school that went up had a similar experience. They loved the children, and the children loved them. Each of us was amazed by the fact that these children were so outgoing and willing to be loved. I speak on behalf of many, that Neighborhood House does wonderful things for these children. We all say thank you so much for letting us have this wonderful opportunity and hope to come back again!

-Janessa Broadbent, Lone Peak High School