By ZhuoTong Xian
Community service is a very big part of the lives of American high school students. High school students in the United States are assigned certain hours of community service every year and need to complete the hours before graduation. My school requires us to complete 50 hours of community service every year and provides us many types of jobs, including helping teachers in the school, teaching lower-grade students, sorting books in the library, or helping children in Africa. For American high school students, adequate community service hours have a crucial influence on applying for a college. Such extracurricular activities enable students to have better contact with society and the world and enrich their lives besides learning knowledge at school. In my own case, I have been working as a volunteer in a special needs agency. I accompany the children, sing and dance with them. When I see this group of lovely and innocent children, with physical disadvantages, I feel that my mind has been purified.
Teaching is also an option for volunteer work, which I have just done in the Mingyue Hope Primary School in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of Sichuan and Tibet. In this remote Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, there have a large temperature difference between day and night, harsh weather and limited resources on education, medicine, and transportation. Most children we are helping are orphans and live in an isolated mountain area with few families nearby but only a Buddhist temple. Occasionally pilgrims pass by to make generous contributions to the children. They grow adaptively in such an environment. When we get familiar with the children, we can deeply feel in them the traces of these tribulations in the past, but they still choose kindness and trust. Although I live in the United States, far from these children, I still want to do something to make their lives better and have, for example, medicine available to them when they are sick. I want them to know that they are not alone and that there are people in this world who love them. When those children are trying their best to live, how can we not do our best to help them?
Community service, helping others and caring for others, allows us to understand the world better. Although we may not change the world, the small actions we take to help others do make a difference.