A helping hand

Students at Northwest share the benefits of volunteering and helping out within the community.

Serving the community as a high school student can be very rewarding, according to senior Caroline Lubbe, since many non-profit organizations allow students to venture out of their comfort zones and discover unexpected skills and hobbies. Lubbe first started volunteering with her family when she was seven years old at Harvesters Community Food Network. She is now a board member of the Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC), an organization dedicated to spreading the spirit of volunteerism among the youth.

Lubbe said she remembers being interested in helping her community ever since she was little. She believes the benefits of volunteering are great, especially for high schoolers because it helped her meet so many new people who she could impact positively.

Senior Alicia Pham volunteers by recycling with KAY Club, Aug. 25. (Lila Vancrum)

“It makes you feel better about yourself and it allows you to step outside of whatever problems you’re facing and to be able to make a difference in the community. It’s also really good at building relationships with people who are different from you,” Lubbe said.

However, volunteering at non-profit organizations is not the only way to help out in the community. Junior Lauren Croom feels she serves her community by volunteering as a youth volleyball coach at Oxford Middle School and Blue Valley Recreation. 

Croom said her love for volleyball inspired her to help out kids enjoy the sport as well.

 “I feel like a lot of times it’s really easy for me and other students to get caught up with what we’re doing, and it’s kind of nice to stop and help other people,” Croom said.

Croom added that when her coach introduced the idea of coaching a volleyball team, she knew she wanted to relay her passion for the sport and give younger girls a fun opportunity. She said she believes any way people are able to serve their community is very crucial for a lot of people in need. 

“I think [volunteering] is important because again, it’s really easy to get caught up with whatever we personally are doing, and we’re really fortunate, so it’s nice to help others who need it,” Croom said. “And in this case, [it] gives the girls an opportunity to succeed in something I love to do as well.” 

Volunteering is always a positive environment since the attention is focused on others and the community, according to senior Alicia Pham. Pham started volunteering in eighth grade at her church and began getting more involved when she came to Northwest. She is now the Vice President of Kay Club and continues to volunteer regularly at her church.

Junior Lauren Croom volunteers at the summer youth volleyball camp, June 13. “I like to volunteer because I’m very fortunate and it is important to give back to the community,” Croom said. (Remi Nuss)

“I think the positive aspects that come with volunteering are endless,” Pham said. “It gave me a different perspective to how fortunate I really am.”

Pham said she was inspired by her older brother to begin volunteering and helping the community. She added that her brother encouraged her to volunteer especially when he left for college. Pham believes most colleges enjoy seeing students who give their time to the community without expecting anything in return, and said she feels a sense of unity by volunteering and gets much joy from helping strengthen the community. 

Similarly, Lubbe believes people volunteering is essential for not only making others happy, but keeping herself happy as well. She said her passion for helping people drives her to inspire outsiders to join the cause.

“[Volunteering] engages people with the needs of the community, even if they are only making a small difference to whatever the issue is. Just having people aware of what’s going on is really important and it makes the community stronger,” Lubbe said.

According to Lubbe, if enough people come together big changes can be made within our society, rather than individuals solely trying to make a difference. 

“When a lot of volunteers do something small together, it can create a really big impact,” Lubbe said.

Croom also said she believes in people coming together to create a change. She feels that anyone has the ability to give back to their community, and everyone should at least try to find some time in their lives to serve their communal part.

“I think that everybody finding something they are passionate about, and that they could help out with, is really important because it’s great for your community,” Croom said. “Also, it feels good to give back.”