Being part of a 4-H group has changed me in many ways through many different methods. It made me realize how much fun volunteering can be. The 2015 Christmas Party was by far the most influential. We went to The Lakes in Monclova and built gingerbread houses. Each 4-H member and some parents were assigned one resident to built a gingerbread house with, some of the residents were grumpy and unapproachable, but my gingerbread partner was amazing. Her name was Denise.
At first, when I learned that we were going to be building with nursing home residents, I was a little skeptical. I was expecting old and grouchy people. I was very out of line, especially in Denise’s case. Denise was one of the younger residents. I built the gingerbread house and Denise told me how she wanted it to be built. I asked her multiple times if she wanted to help she said, “I want to, but I can’t use my hands that well.” That made me feel very sad and more determined to give her a fun day.
Denise and I ended up building a log cabin with a Christmas tree and pet animal crackers. It was all her idea and I had way more fun than I could ever imagine. Denise was very grateful, so much that she almost started crying. I almost started tearing up when it was time to leave and, Denise looked me straight in the eye and said, very sincerely, “Thank you so much.” I know that a thank you isn’t much these days, because most people say it out of habit, not even thinking about their words. Denise obviously meant her words, based on her facial expression and tone of voice.
I was ecstatic after leaving the building. As I was driving home with my aunt, I could not stop talking about how delighted I was that I got to make someone happy. I was very selfish before then, and I didn’t get when people said, “I’m glad that you’re happy.” How could making someone happy make you happy? I knew the answer to that question as soon as I helped Denise. Her glowing smile and sincere thank you made me light up with joy. I am so grateful to have had the chance to bring someone pleasure. That was by far the most enlightening experience I have ever had.
Written by Madeline Bumpus
Anthony Wayne Trailblazers