How did you spend your summer vacation last year (2019)? Did you dedicate some of your time to volunteer work like eighth-grade Rectory student, Antonio, did? Last summer, Antonio, who is from Shanghai, China, performed community service in Yinchuan, China, which is a remote mountainous area of western China. He went there with his mother and some of his friends to distribute daily necessities to needy young children in first and second grade. The group drove a total of 580 miles (932 km) that week, and they visited 28 schools. They helped 151 teachers and 1,765 students by presenting them with 441 boxes of goods filled with winter jackets, boots, books, pens, and toys.
Antonio can still remember how challenging the weather and the mountain roads were. Very early one morning, the truck with supplies became stuck when the engine wouldn’t start because the weather was so cold. The group had to move all the supplies to another truck before they could head out for the day.
Antonio felt deeply moved by the childrens’ need for the goods his group brought to the schools and also when he learned that the children lived in “caves” in the mountains of Yinchuan. Whereas WiFi may be the most important thing for many young people today, the children in Yinchuan do not have this privilege. They don’t even have bathrooms. The trip influenced Antonio in many ways. It made him cherish and value the life that he leads even more. This is not the first time that he has done community service, and he is willing to make the cold, 26-hour trip again to help the children in Yinchuan.
We students at Rectory do not have to travel as far as Antonio did to offer help to others. There are many different ways that a middle school student can make life better for others, such as participating in the Rectory Heart-y Party that took place before Christmas. Choosing to take the Community Service elective is another opportunity. Visiting an older relative or neighbor would brighten their day, and being polite and courteous to everyone you meet is always appreciated. If you see someone who looks like they’re having a bad day, try giving them a smile. It will make both of you feel better, and it’s such a simple act of kindness.