By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Volunteering is an honorable way to give back to those who don’t have much or help out businesses and organizations with good missions. There’s a wide range of opportunities for volunteers, ranging from sorting food or sweeping floors to being a first responder in a disaster. Even in the Whiteland community there are many options for students, some even through the high school.
PEER, FCCLA, Riley Dance Marathon and Student Council are all organizations at WCHS that do a lot of community service. PEER is a class during the day that goes to elementary schools and local nonprofits such as ReStore, WeWarriors and Christina Place. PEER also does other community service projects outside of school, such as Operation Bundle Up and a christmas party and prom for the Christina Place, a retirement home. FCCLA and Student Council have done many fundraisers in the school to raise awareness and funds for various causes, including a recent fundraiser where profit from homecoming shirts went to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Riley Dance Marathon raises over 15,000 dollars for Riley Children’s Hospital yearly.
Volunteering is a great way to help out the community and it also leaves a huge impact on the volunteer, allowing them to explore different careers and grow as a person. Senior Simrandeep Kaur volunteers at St. Francis Hospital and her volunteer experience has taught her what she wants to do in the future as a career.
“Before I wanted to be a pediatrician, so I used to do the women and children. I would get to see the babies in the NICU or postpartum, but then I decided I wanted to be a physician assistant, so I switched to emergency and now I get to see trauma coming in here and there,” said Kaur.
Counselor Shannon Fritz grew as a person and also learned more about what she wanted to do in life through volunteering, as many do.
“Most people that volunteer will say they feel good after helping others. It can help diminish a person’s stresses and pressures by focusing on another’s needs. Volunteering exposes you to new ideas and experiences and makes you grow and learn as a person. In my own experience, volunteering taught me things about myself- things I wanted to do or did not want to do in my career. After volunteering the micro lab in college, I realized that I wanted a job with more human interaction,” Fritz said.
Freshman Macy Spangler, who volunteers tutoring elementary schoolers at Southpointe Church, encourages everyone to volunteer so that they can make a difference and help those in need.
“I would encourage people to volunteer because there are so many volunteer opportunities available to you that can help our community and the people around us,” Spangler said. “When you help out other people, you are in turn helping out yourself, your family, your friends, your community, your state, and your world! Whatever you are interested in, there is an opportunity for you.”
According to Fritz, volunteering humbles people and teaches selflessness.
“We all can have the tendency to be self centered. Volunteering reminds us that we are interconnected in a larger community and larger world. Volunteering also offers an opportunity to learn new things, which I think is essential to a healthy life,” Fritz said.
Spangler has learned to see the bigger picture because of volunteering.
“It helps you realize that whatever problems you may have aren’t that big of a deal. It makes you grateful for what you have in your life. It’s also incredibly fulfilling to help other people,” Spangler said.
Kaur volunteers to show appreciation and give back.
“I like to help out the community and just give back for everything they’ve done for me,” Kaur said.
There are numerous opportunities for volunteering around Whiteland, or even just in the high school, which can be found in the counselor’s office. There’s Interchurch Food Pantry in Franklin, any of the Johnson County Public Libraries and Habitat for Humanity, to name a few. Volunteering is a great opportunity for all that benefits both the volunteer and the one helped, teaching lifelong lessons and values. Any kind of volunteering helps because as Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”