A Helping Hand

Upon entering my freshman year of high school, I received the standard advice that every wide-eyed ninth-grader receives: to become involved.To join a club, a sports team, the band, student council, or anything where I should feel comfortable and be able to pursue my interests. In the chaos of club week, my classmates seemed to join random clubs with no rhyme or reason, gravitating toward whichever table was handing out free cookies or candy to new members. I, however, knew exactly how I was going to fulfill those wise words of advice; how I was going to become involved.Guided by my longstanding passion for helping individuals with special needs, I couldn’t have been more excited to join my school’s chapter of Best Buddies.

My passion for helping others arose at quite an early age, as I grew up in a household that revolved around being charitable.My parents have always prioritized volunteering, and have made sure that they inspired this concept to me at a young age.For over ten years, they have been heavily involved in The Woodlands Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and chronic illness. With specialized programs and opportunities for individuals with special needs, I found The Woodlands to be a truly a remarkable place.I can remember attending events at The Woodlands when I was as young as seven years old and still being able to understand what a positive impact my parents had.The people around us were so grateful, and I knew that I wanted to be able to make a difference just as my parents were.

As a senior in high school,I can say that I have spent the past four years doing what I love. From when I joined Best Buddies as a freshman, I have formed friendships with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met.I have since been chosen as a club officer, and I have helped Best Buddies grow to become the single largest club in our school.The special education department has also selected me to be a Peer Helper, an honor which I graciously accepted.Each day for a class period I serve as a peer aid for students with special needs.The students that I work with continue to amaze me with their positivity, and each day they remind me why I am so passionate about what I do.

From my early childhood, I learned to always be open to helping others.Working with individuals with special needs has been a part of family for years, and has undoubtedly been one of the strongest factors in shaping who I am today.My parents exposed me to a culture that required my utmost patience, compassion, and most importantly, altruism, values that I have carried with me for years and will hold for the course of my lifetime. Through my experiences, I have gained insight into some of the daily challenges people face that are taken for granted by much of society.I have learned the value of building relationships with others, and have seen firsthand how one small gesture can make the biggest difference.I feel fortunate to have discovered something so rewarding at such an early age, and know that I will continue to grow from each experience that awaits.

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