Hospital Volunteering & Community Services

Little snippet into my life:

So last Sunday, I went to the hospital to do my four hours shift. I was stationed in the East Tower of the hospital on the third floor: Telemetry. As the hour hand strikes three, it was my cue to go do patient roundings. Patient rounding is basically rolling a cart throughout the entire floor asking every single patient if they need anything- toiletries, food, entertainment, help, anything that is in my scope of practice! Nearing the end of my rounding, I came across an elderly man with his son next to his bedside. I went in, asked them if they needed anything. Smiley as always. I think showing people my positivity in an environment like the hospital is a very huge thing. It's refreshing seeing someone happy and not telling you to do this and that and this and that. Anyways, as I was offering them all that I could I asked them one last question "would you like anything else?" ending it with a smile. I was in there for a good 3 minutes at this point. The family and I were communicating smoothly and very cheerily.
To my surprise the elderly man in the hospital bed just looked me straight in the eyes and said, "young lady, you have a beautiful smile. Just keep smiling that's what I'd like. Just keep smiling, you're beautiful. Thank you." His son then interrupted and agreed saying, "Yes, you do have a beautiful smile. Very refreshing and vibrant. Keep smiling."
Shocked, I smiled even wider showering them with thank yous and more smiles as they complimented my smile.
Why I was so shocked?…..I hated hated hated hated my smile. I didn't like smiling when I was younger. I didn't like the way my teeth looked, I didn't like how my upper lips would basically become invisible when I smiled. I didn't like how crooked it was and how small my mouth was.
But hearing complete strangers telling me that they think my smile was beautiful was absolutely wonderful. It's a feeling I'll never be able to replicate. It's kind of like a one time deal type of thing.
After saying thank you and exiting, the elderly man called me back in.
"I would like to say thank you so much for your help. You'll do amazing things. I have a bowl of candies right behind you for the nurses and those that are very helpful, please help yourself if you want. You've been amazing. Thank you."

That was a home run for Janet!

Another story:

One Sunday, volunteering as usual…I was escorting patients and visitors. This lady who i had helped escort a couple of times during my 4 hours of volunteering OFFERED TO PAY FOR MY FOOD.
We of course talked and she told me her story of why she was at the hospital. She opened up to me. It was a wonderful feeling. Total stranger. I don't even know her name, but it doesn't matter. I remember when I went to go get my lunch, she was sitting from a table in the cafeteria (I didn't notice)…I was at the cashier already and she ran up and gave the cashier twenty dollars, telling me to get whatever I had wanted. I told her thank you so much but I get free lunch at the hospital. 🙂 She still insisted and told the cashier how I've been so helpful and she wished she could repay me for all that I've done for her for the last four hours.

I was shocked. I was exhilarated by the gesture.

Volunteering at the hospital had definitely made a huge impact in my life. I've experienced all the little joys that can come from a place like the hospital. This is what I want when I volunteer. I want to hear people say how much I've HELPED them. I want to hear people say how GLAD I was there to ASSIST them. I don't want the hours, I want to HELP. And that's when I realized…
Clubs at school have glorified volunteering as a way to earn POINTS, not to teach students how to get points because they're "helping". I don't like joining the clubs at school anymore because I've come to realized one thing they all have in common: A point system

Yes, I agree points are great incentives but we've come to the point where community service is no longer about helping the community or giving back to the community- instead it's about reaching a point requirement or else you'd be kicked out the club. It infuriates me when my friends tell me they NEED to do a service because they need to reach a point requirement in order to stay in the club. What these clubs are instilling in students is NOT the meaning of what the club was originally created for. Students are doing services just for the sake of getting points in order to maintain membership. Students aren't doing services because they want to actually help. Okay, maybe some of them do want to help but shouldn't you feel OBLIGED to help if you wanted to without caring about your points anyways? I don't agree with the community services at school. I don't like the fact that points are a big factor in community services. "We'll give you double points if you show up." the entire club participates. Incentive? POINTS. When in reality it should be : TO HELP THE COMMUNITY. I don't believe in the point system, I've lost hope for our clubs at school because of this. I've been volunteering ever since I was little and I did not care one bit about my community service points. What I like to tally up are the feedbacks from the people I touch upon. Community service now a days are a way to get points. What are community services like in school? Passing out water to marathon runners. I don't enjoy going to services like these because I don't feel like I'm doing anything personally to help the community as a whole. I get that some marathons are to raise money for charity and I have nothing against it. I just personally think that these services are a bit boring and tasteless. I like one on one helping. I like being a part of a group that travels to homeless shelters to help. To engage with people.
At this point, I know I've definitely given back to the community. By engaging with people directly, I know that I've actually helped them…that I tried. I value our communication and engagement more than a 1000 points on my transcript ever will. These are the things that will forever be embedded in your heads.
Community service should be about the COMMUNITY, not the point requirements. Students are brainwashed to value the points more than anything. I hate it when I attend club meetings and there will be some people who'll ask "will points be given?"
Are you in this club to actually help out the community or to make it look pretty on your transcript? Should you really ask that question if you wanted to join a community service solely club? Should you really? If you had really wanted to help out the community why would the points matter to you? If points are attached, then good you get points. If not, then what? You're not going to do it? Is it not worth your time anymore?
I want students to do community services because they want to and they care, not because of some point system. And that is where our clubs are flawed. They've led students to believing that points are valued rather than compassion, generosity, and selflessness.
I don't like the point system, and I wish I had a louder voice.
I've been guilty of being selfish, but after a club I was highly engaged in started making a points requirement system and when I started engaging myself in long term outside of school clubs services that I've started to realize how blind I was. This was a while back.

Help because you care, not because it looks amazing on your transcript to college.
Volunteering can bring the good or the bad out of you: which type of volunteer are you? The one who does it for points and hours or the one that truly enjoys it.


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