Filled with philanthropy: Recognizing the value of service through inclusion

Addie Even

Seniors+Kayla+Nutt+%28left%29+and+Addie+Even+%28right%29+pose+for+a+playful+picture+with+their+two+new+Peruvian+friends%2C+displaying+their+love+for+volunteering+around+the+world.

Addie Even

Seniors Kayla Nutt (left) and Addie Even (right) pose for a playful picture with their two new Peruvian friends, displaying their love for volunteering around the world.

Sakshi Lawande, Copy Editor

As countless opportunities to volunteer seemingly increase each year, people are more willing than ever to complete the work.

Although International Volunteer Day has been celebrated for decades, this year’s event, observed on Dec. 5, focused heavily on a theme to achieve inclusion through volunteerism. The specific theme of International Volunteer Day 2019 is “volunteer for an inclusive future”. With exposure to growing diversity, volunteering offers a variety of opportunities for everyone to make a difference regardless of age, sex, race, religion, disability or status. 

Inclusion is a defining feature of volunteerism. Volunteering creates a culture that brings communities and volunteers together, encouraging collaboration and leveraging diversity throughout a specific organization so that all individuals are able to contribute to their full potential. 

The Pleasant Valley administration recognizes the value of volunteerism so much that it has become a graduation requirement.

Senior Addie Even is one to dedicate much of her time serving the community. Even began taking on local opportunities through sports camps and school programs. Though she is fulfilling her service learning requirement for school, her decision to volunteer did not stem solely from a requirement, but rather from a developing passion. 

Her passion expanded from a local perspective to one internationally when she found her love for helping children in Las Lomas, Peru. The experience allowed her to provide hope for children battling real-life issues such as slavery, poverty and human trafficking. 

“It means so much knowing I am able to help people who do not receive sufficient help from their country or people in their community,” said Even. 

Being a skilled international volunteer has the power to remind others of the world’s shared humanity. Among different groups comes value, richness and strength in diversity. 

Additionally, Even shared a sentimental feeling towards her service, “I think volunteering is not only a huge benefit, but also a great feeling,” she emphasized. “To see the changes I am creating in others’ lives makes me feel capable of helping others…and makes me feel grateful for what I have.”

Seniors, like Even, are approaching their final semester of high school, and most have been constantly reminded that the world is at their fingertips. 

PV’s Service Learning Director Emily Jepsen began emphasizing the need for volunteers and the potential change they could bring to surrounding environments very early in the students’ high school careers. 

Jepsen believes her role is to motivate students to carry this action of service into their futures in hopes to continue making positive changes in their communities. “Everyone should volunteer throughout their life, whether in school or out of school, adult or child,” said Jepsen. “Volunteering has many benefits not only for the organization that they are helping, but also for the volunteer.”

International Volunteer Day recognizes the remarkable contributions of volunteers, highlighting the pursuit of equality. 

But even when the calendar does not announce a celebratory day for charitable causes, volunteers around the globe are responding to issues big and small. And the selfless acts of those completing that philanthropic work will surely enrich the lives of the volunteers as much as it will the countless people they impact.