I Am Who I Am Today Because of Volunteering

Friday, April 24, 2020
Zac Durant 6Hzpu9hyfg Unsplash

National Volunteer Month

My name is Skyler Blalock, I am currently a senior at La Pryor High School, graduating with my Associates from Southwest Texas Junior college, and will be entering a new milestone in my life this fall as a student at the University of Texas at Austin. The pandemic that we find ourselves in currently, makes it hard to remember that April is National Volunteer Month and a very important part of the year. Speaking as a fellow NSHSS member and Ambassador, I felt it was important to share my take on this very crucial time in American history.

My Backstory

I begrudgingly joined volunteerism, what I believed to be the most dreadful practice of social engagement, in a desperate effort to heal from a traumatic childhood, though with time had the unexpected effect of significantly changing the person I was. After seven years of volunteering, I grew to understand others, care for them, and aid in more than 15+ leadership roles, all the while actively participating in 20 organizations. These opportunities resulted in the creation of seven to ten volunteer programs, many of which I am proud to have accomplished on behalf of my community as an Ambassador for NSHSS. I am who I am today because of volunteering, and its profound ability to redefine the introverted child of the past into someone that can create meaningful change in the lives of others. Although many of my initiatives have been put on hiatus, for now, I strive to make the best of our current situation and continue to look for volunteer opportunities.

Underlying Opportunities

COVID-19 will not last forever, and as such, I have decided to make use of the quarantine time by tending to three areas of importance: planning, compassion, and college preparedness. First, I chose to dedicate time to reassess future projects and those postponed during the quarantine by holding phone conferences, deliberating, and setting deadlines for new layouts and creativity. In regard to compassion, I find it of great importance to take some time aside to speak with anyone in or out of my community that needed someone to talk or share what happens in life. Finally, with college approaching, I found this time to be some of the best to prepare by watching tutorials and researching more about college life.

A Resolve Being Tested

We are currently standing on the cusp of what will become one of America’s most historical moments regarding its resilience and capability to handle an invisible, deadly threat. As we all take some time to reflect upon the destruction this pandemic has unleashed we can be optimistic about our nation’s ability in rising to any challenge, as this is not the first time our country has undergone a trial of this magnitude. As a generation born into a new millennium filled with conflict, we are accustomed to America’s resolve for the unforeseen, from 9/11 to the Great Recession, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Our resolve and that of this nation are being tested once again, so what better way to overcome this obstacle than by engaging in clever and safe volunteering, showing that no matter the obstacle we will not stop helping others. I encourage you to check out the NSHSS COVID-19 resource page for informative webinars, scholarships, and volunteer opportunities offered at this unique time.

Skyler D. Blalock, NSHSS Member and Ambassador