“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed,” stated by Maya Angelou.

Hello, beauties I wanted to let you know why you should give back to your community.

I am apart of a community service organization named Rays of Hope at which I do most of my volunteering and partially the reason why I created Girls with Beauty & Brains. With Rays of Hope, I learned that there are so many ways to give back and it’s something I enjoy doing.

At my senior awards night, I received recognition for the amount of community service that I have done. I am in the top 10 percentile of the most community service hours in the state of New Jersey and because of that, I received the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold) and a letter from the president. I also received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award as a local honoree.

I did not do community service to get recognition nor did I realize that I did so much. At that moment while I was getting my awards, I realized that you never know who you’re inspiring or whose lives you’ve touched.

So whether you are already giving back to your community or haven’t really got into it yet, here are some reasons why you should start or continue.

  1. Your impact- It sounds cliche but when you volunteer you are making a difference to someone’s life or to your overall community. When I volunteer at homeless shelters with Rays of Hope, the kids that we spend time with are always grateful for our presence and the different activities that we set up for them.
  2. Inspiring- Volunteering can be so inspiring and can motivate you to lead more volunteer projects. It will also help you discover what service projects you are passionate about. From volunteering so much over the past seven years, I discovered that I was really passionate about girl empowerment, which is why I created Girls with Beauty & Brains.
  3. Discover new skills- Volunteering also reveals skills that you never knew you had. For example, maybe you didn’t know you were good with kids, art, cooking, building, public speaking, or acting/singing. There are so many volunteer projects that are more than just picking up trash in your community. Some projects require you to maybe paint the school walls, cook meals for the less fortunate, build a bench, speak at events, or even perform in a show that raises awareness on issues going on in the world.
  4. Meet Others- Volunteering can help you meet like-minded people and make friends or even business partners (you never know!) It’s always fun volunteering with people who have the same heart and motive as you. That is why I recommend joining organizations and clubs in your community and at your school, so you can meet others who have the same passion as you. At my school, I am in Interact club and National Honor Society and outside of school, I am apart of Rays of Hope. I am grateful for all three organizations and the connections I have made in each.
  5. It feels good!- Lastly, after volunteering, you always feel appreciated and feel that your time was of good use. Some volunteering projects are harder than others, but there is always someone watching you and inspired by your community service. When I spoke at a girl empowerment event, a young girl came up to me and said that when she grows up she wants to be just like me. I was honored by what she said and knew that I was making an impact, whether big or small, on this girl’s life.

Overall, community service is such a beautiful thing. If you don’t like certain things that are happening in your community, there is always something you can do to contribute to changing the circumstances. Use your voice, use your talents, use your privilege to make a difference!

“We’re the change, let’s be the change, we’re here to make a difference, not apologies.” – Jamilah

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