Stepping Stones Celebrates National Volunteer Week
Date posted: April 8, 2019Every year, organizations around the country choose to celebrate National Volunteer Week in April to honor those individuals who choose to give others their time so generously.
This tradition has many origins, but in the United States in specifically grew from the popularity of Points of Light by the late President George Bush. The nonprofit coordinates thousands of volunteer projects throughout the entire year, with special events held during National Volunteer Week.
Celebrated April 7 through April 13, Points of Lights states that “National Volunteer Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, build stronger communities and be a force that transforms the world.”
Stepping Stones Celebrate National Volunteer WeekAt Stepping Stones, we are fortunate to welcome more than 1,500 individuals at our four program locations each year. To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we asked a few local students why they feel volunteering is important not only to the organization they support – but for their own change in perspective as well. Here is what they had to say:
Marina Anderson, a freshman at Indian Hill High School, stated that her volunteer experience at Stepping Stones Summer Day Camp “really made me be more patient with people and try to understand them before I got frustrated or jumped to conclusions.” Added Marina, “Getting to see these kids who are always happy even though they have severe challenges just inspires you to always maintain a happy mindset.”
The role of a summer camp volunteer at Stepping Stones is an active, adventurous and challenging one. Yet, it’s also an experience that leaves an indelible mark on those who come to help out during our programs for people with disabilities.
Albert Kwon has volunteered at our camp for several summers. “It gave me so much perspective into the lives and personalities of people with disabilities – much more than any presentation or class could. Volunteering helped me be more a more understanding and empathetic person. And, I have learned that the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a really good message and always applies in this case.
It is our duty as human beings to look out for each other – even when it doesn’t concern our own interests or desires,” concluded Albert. “If everyone lived selfishly, not only would we not be helping others when it is completely in our capability to do so, we might also be limiting our own experiences.”
Indian Hill High School sophomore Corinne O’Dell added, “Stepping Stones has definitely changed me. It has made me see the world in a new and really cool way and has opened my eyes to so much.”
A Rewarding ExperienceStarting to think that volunteering is mostly about giving to others? Know that there is also considerable payback through the rewarding relationships student volunteers develop.
“My best experience was just being happily recognized by campers I worked with earlier in the summer when I returned for a second session!” said high school sophomore John Kushman. “Volunteering at camp helped remind me that every person should be able to enjoy life and have access to as many experiences as possible. Volunteering at Stepping Stones taught me that we should get to know people for themselves and avoid forming opinions about someone’s abilities before we do know them.”
Senior Payton Hoffman spent close to 200 hours volunteering at Summer Day Camp last summer had this to say, “It was so rewarding to help a camper named Jacob overcome his fear [of jumping in the pool] and to learn that new experiences can be scary and fun.” At camp, Payton helped Jacob tackle his fear by helping him see that a swimming pool is really just a giant bucket of water.
While their experiences may have varied, the message from these outstanding volunteers was the same across the board. “Volunteering allows individuals to give back to their community while receiving the positive social benefits that arise when you help someone else,” Payton establishes. “Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, repeat and patience. Volunteering is good for the soul!”
Volunteer at Stepping Stones this SummerStepping Stones was founded in 1963 as Greater Cincinnati’s first summer camp for children with disabilities. We have a long history of providing children and teens with fun adventures in a safe space and our volunteers are big part of that experience. By volunteering at Stepping Stones, high school students are able to earn service hours while changing lives and gaining perspective.
Our 2019 summer camp season kicks off Monday, June 10 and runs through Friday, August 3. Stepping Stones welcomes volunteers over the age of thirteen to join us for a rewarding experience!
To learn more about how you can volunteer at Stepping Stones this summer and complete an online application, click here.
Article written by Indian High School Senior Catherine Joy – a volunteer and intern of Stepping Stones.