One: Well, my first question is, how did you get involved in volunteering? What made you start wanting to do that?
Danyelle: I came across the email regarding the volunteering opportunity offered by the One Initiative, and I noticed that the school is conveniently located in my neighborhood. I have a personal connection with my own experience growing up in a household with a hardworking single mother and two sisters who were close in age. During that time, we relied on a food pantry to meet our basic needs, so I truly understand the significance of that assistance. I have made the decision to actively participate in supporting this school and lend a helping hand whenever my schedule allows.
One: That’s great. How has your own experience growing up in a similar situation encouraged more volunteering for you?
Danyelle: My personal experiences have greatly inspired me to give back to others. I find fulfillment in dedicating my time and energy to helping these kids, as it truly impacts their lives. By offering support, they realize that there are others who genuinely care about their well-being. I believe it is crucial for people to understand the importance of empathy and kindness, especially when they are unfamiliar with these situations. This is similar to how I felt when members of my community or individuals from the food pantry assisted us during my upbringing. Their kindness always had a positive impact on me and made me feel hopeful even during challenging times. We often assume that children may not fully comprehend such situations, but in reality, they do. I try to pass on this sense of hope to others, particularly these young individuals. I aim to reassure them that it is alright to face adversity and assure them that things will eventually improve.
One: That’s really meaningful. Have you had any experiences volunteering that have touched you personally or made a strong connection?
Danyelle: In my local community, I have observed quite a few kids who may benefit from additional assistance. I grew up in Davis County so that’s where my experience was, and I feel like people in Salt Lake County comparatively don’t have the same level of support. From seeing that I am motivated to foster a stronger sense of unity and encourage community. I often think about how we can shift our mindset from a more individualistic one to a collective one. I like the idea that instead of me, myself, and I it’s us. We are all one.
One: That’s a great goal. How have you seen your volunteering impact others, whether it’s the kids you’re serving or the community in general?
Danyelle: It is often shown in the expressions of the children. They display genuine excitement and gratitude, and I find solace in the belief that our efforts alleviate some of the burdensome stress and anxiety they may be facing. I have faith that these experiences offer them renewed hope and happiness, and I am deeply committed to making a positive impact in their lives.
One: That’s wonderful. Lastly, what would you say to others who are thinking about volunteering?
Danyelle: I would urge them to take a moment and reflect on a period in their life that was filled with overwhelming stress and immense hardship. If you visualize someone standing beside you, their presence emitting an unwavering offer of assistance and support. Just think of how deeply that would resonate within your soul and ignite a flicker of hope in the darkness. I would ask them to become that beacon of light, that force of goodness amidst the turmoil for others who find themselves going through difficult times. Recognize that summoning the courage to ask for help can feel like exposing one’s vulnerabilities and summon lots of heavy emotions: embarrassment, shame, and more. However, as you reach out, consider the impact your altruism can have on their lives. Once you understand that you will understand the significance of the opportunity you have to volunteer.