At the October 24 JA Community Service Fair, Upper School students will learn about area community partners where they can volunteer. The event is from 9:45 a.m.–10:30 a.m. in the Performing Arts Complex.
During this time of focus on community service, three students reflected on previous service and what they learned from serving others.
Two years of volunteering at Stewpot and the Natural Science Museum have given JJ insight into why it is important to volunteer. “Everyone should volunteer because you want to—not because somebody told you to or for recognition,” he said. “I volunteer to help the community because there are some people less fortunate than us.”
At Stewpot, JJ serves lunches and passes out drinks to people who don’t always get a meal on a regular basis.
He is also a museum summer camp counselor, helping with exhibits and giving tours.
“It is fun to teach others about the animals and the environment,” JJ said. “Volunteering makes me feel good because I am helping others.”
As a volunteer camp counselor working with children on a daily basis, Kaylan realized that the counselor is considered a role model for campers.
“Serving the community was an eye-opening experience for me because it showed me how much responsibility I was held to,” said Kaylan. “It also showed me how many children and parents look up to me and see me as a role model, meaning that my actions are words. Moreover, the experience really taught me leadership skills and more responsibility for others and myself.”
Not only does serving make Kaylan feel good because people are benefitting from her service, it also reminds her to be thankful. “It keeps a spirit of gratitude in my heart to continuously be thankful,” she said. She suggests students look for an organization with a mission that interests them to make the experience meaningful and fun. She also has learned the value of volunteering somewhere that is different and somewhat uncomfortable to break out of our natural comfort zone. “Get a group of friends together and go volunteer because the community needs us to make it a better place,” she said.
This summer through the WH&OH Missionary Department, Carneilus set up a distribution station and handed out food and clothing to homeless citizens in Poindexter Park. He also worked with Cathedral Church outreach ministry serving meals to homeless women and children at Flowers House.
“When volunteering at Poindexter, I was shocked to see how many homeless people are in need in our surrounding areas. It made me realize that there are so many people out there who need our help. This experience lit a match that starting a burning desire in my heart to further help the city of Jackson as much as I can,” he said.
“Serving the community makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself that is making a major difference in my community. I feel very happy and heart warmed when I see the smiles on the people’s faces that I serve, and it makes me want to never stop helping,” said Carnelius.
Carnelius believes when students volunteer they get to be a part of something that helps people who really need it. “It is a life changing experience,” he said. “You learn things about yourself that you would have never discovered if you had not embarked on this journey. Every little action helps. There is nothing you can do that is too small or not important.”
JA does not currently require volunteer hours, but sees many students developing servant hearts naturally through their experiences at school and in the community. The school designs the Community Service Fair to help more students connect with the many service opportunities available. Questions about the Community Service Fair can be directed to Audrey Wilkirson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-613-1555.
“Even though JA does not require you to get volunteer hours, volunteering is a great way to hang out with your friends and have fun while also improving the community around you,” said Carneilus.