Why I'm committed to volunteering
By YCL Youth Council Philanthropy Director, Frances Begonia
Giving back has always been really important to my mom so she started bringing me and my brother with her to volunteer shifts when we were pretty young. The earliest memory I have of volunteering is when I was around five. My family and I helped a church make alphabet flash cards for schools in Africa. Since then, volunteer work has become a big part of my family and my life. On average now, I volunteer and participate in volunteer organizations about 10 hours every month. And while it’s a big commitment, it is also a big part of who I am and helps me feel like I’m making a difference in the world. Volunteering is a big priority for me.
As a teenager there are lots of volunteer opportunities available for me to participate in. One of my favorite organizations to work with is the Oregon Humane Society, which only allows volunteers over the age of 12. I love working with animals and at the Humane Society volunteers get to play with the dogs and cats to help them socialize. This is really fun and makes a difference for the animals as well.
Another of my favorite services is working at Ronald McDonald House where my family and I made Mother’s Day brunch for all the families staying there this year. We made frittatas and served the moms sparkling apple juice to celebrate them. We also got to eat with everyone and I learned a lot about the families and some of the heartbreaking reasons they’re staying there. It really made me appreciate how important it is to volunteer and that it really makes a difference for these families while they’re undergoing really stressful situations with their kids.
Through these hands-on volunteer experiences, my own interest in philanthropy and charity work has increased. I love learning about all the different ways people have found to try and help solve problems in our community. It is truly inspiring to hear about how small some organizations started out and to see what a big impact they have had in our community.
Through YCL I have been a chef at Ronald McDonald House, a personal shopper at Project Lemonade, and a stylist at Northwest Children’s Outreach. It is unique experiences like these that make me love volunteering so much. Hearing different people’s stories of hardship is also incredibly humbling and reminds me just how much I have to be grateful for. It is amazing to hear about what a big impact something as small as a blanket or a hot meal can make on somebody’s life and knowing that I had something to do with that is incredibly fulfilling.
Frances is a sophomore at Jesuit High School. She is fluent in Spanish, has been riding horses since she was 7, and loves to read in her spare time. Her favorite charity to work with is Oregon Humane Society because it’s a no-kill shelter and she loves animals.