As the team and I have been working with students throughout the pandemic, I’ve been thinking about a precious lesson we’ve learned together: even when times are tough and the world feels topsy turvy, we can still find a little extra room in our souls and our schedules to aid those who are less fortunate. And when we do, we feel energized in tackling our own troubles.
There’s something so refreshing and grounding in taking time off from one’s own individual goals and coming to the aid of those in our community.
I, too, have become a driver for SF-Marin Food Bank, delivering groceries to the food insecure all over the city. I’ve come to learn that 1 in 4 people in the Bay Area are food insecure. As I’ve greeted each recipient with a bundle, I’ve encountered true, heartfelt gratitude. The smile and socially distant wave we exchange show me the connecting power of giving.
Our students, too, have grown so much through their COVID volunteering efforts! They’ve prepared meals for clients at homeless shelters, coming up with new recipes each time. They’ve moved up in the ranks of the Red Cross as a youth volunteer. They’ve raised thousands of dollars for local food banks, organized mask drives, tutored underprivileged students, and taught elementary kids embroidery and piano!
What a privilege it is for an educator to see her students’ hearts filled with love and the spirit of giving. And they’ve matured in the process, putting their own lives into perspective and learning new skills along the way. Some of these projects have become family collaborations as well! It’s been so much fun hearing from parents in our private monthly call about shared ventures! Volunteering can really solidify family bonds.
Top colleges admire students who see the larger picture beyond personal goals, get out of their comfort zones, and give, give, give. Besides academic achievement, little stirs the heart of that admissions reader than the selfless teen who delivers to the underserved.
So if your child is brimming with that giving energy and is searching for ideas, we’ve prepared a list of Bay Area volunteer opportunities for you, mostly related to food insecurity. I hope you find this helpful!
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.