OPINION: Put down your phone and volunteer!

OPINION: Put down your phone and volunteer!

TAMARA ezekiel
Tamara ezekiel

By Tamara Ezekiel, student

Most teenagers are obsessed with their phones and computers, but it’s important to also dedicated time to helping others.

I’m 14. I think I have a busy life … exam stress, exam revision and exam taking – not forgetting exam procrastination (including the constant allure of social media… because one simply must update their snapchat story every 5 minutes!)

As well as the endless back-to-back episodes of Gossip Girl and the pre-exam stuff-your-face-with-carbs, “comfort eating” – all part of the exam process!

Teenage years are a collection of precious moments acting as stepping stones from infancy to adolescence. You become responsible, trustworthy and dignified members of the community aiming to motivate, inspire and most importantly build for the future.

But, when we look back at our teenage life, maybe five years into the future, 10 years, 20, 50 etc.. will we reflect positively? Will we be proud of what we achieved? Or will we be downcast that all we accomplished was a list of results.

Those 12 perfect A*s on a scrap of paper mean a great deal in today’s pressurising world and are indeed outstanding, but they take a toll on you.

People will tell you to exercise, to take baths, not to worry as long as you “do your best,” but for me, these methods never really did much. So I decided to take a new approach: volunteering.

This would help me grow in my own confidence and flourish as a person, to take my mind off exams and to look forward to, and would benefit others and help them feel cherished.

I decided to volunteer with Jewish Autism Trust. I had been involved in a number of projects previously, such as in an old age home, a charity event at my school, tutoring my peers, and fundraising for poverty stricken children in Malawi and India. But this was my first experience of volunteering on a one-to-one basis. I was working with the same child each week, our bond growing stronger each time I came.

My experience volunteering – and dedicating time to even simple things like playing was highly fulfilling. It transforms you into a more rounded person, [with not only flawless grades] and as having a stronger personality, with a broader range of interests outside the classroom and exam hall.

I now value the relationship I’ve build with the children I was working with, some as young as seven years old.  

Volunteering allows an escape from the stressful world and gives you a chance to enhance someone else’s.

As far as I am concerned, making others feel happy makes you feel even happier which is why I always say, “More than I volunteer for you, you volunteer for me.”

The sweet, innocent, satisfied smiles on their faces as they engage themselves in their favourite childish game light up my day and really touches my heart, more than anything in the world. The simple moments we spend together; talking, eating, non-stop video games are so precious because when we look back, it’s the little things we remember. But we realise they were not so little. In the large scheme of things, they are very significant indeed. Priceless.

Looking after people that aren’t as privileged or fortunate enables you to realise how much you have – especially when you’re supposedly a technology and television obsessed teenager!


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