Maddy Gillner ’22
As a kid, I never really understood why my mom would drag me out to volunteer at the food bank. There were other people there, so `why was `I needed? My mom–a strong, social project manager–was perfect for the food bank. She knew how to empathize, could carry twice the weight I could, and improved the whole pantry’s organization system. I, on the other hand, was awkward, clumsy, and quiet. From this experience, I figured that I just wasn’t good at volunteering.
This view was, to absolutely no one’s surprise, inaccurate. I simply wasn’t good at carrying boxes full of food. But in order to figure that out, I had to experience different types of serving, ones more suited to my strengths. Now that I know my strengths, I am a leader in the Community Engagement PGA at Mercersburg.
Volunteering through Community Engagement gives me a purpose. I am actually making a difference, and I am passionate about what I am doing. Unfortunately, the large majority of students at Mercersburg Academy will not get to experience this. Unless a student is willing to give up on a sport or theatre program they are passionate about, the volunteer options are incredibly limited. If I weren’t in Community Engagement, what could I be doing? SoGlow and donating an old Halloween costume? SoGlow is an incredibly important event that will give people a chance to make a difference; I only wish there were more events like it.
I would not be nearly as passionate about volunteering as I am today if I had not discovered how to serve my community using my own talents and passions. I love organizing fundraisers, researching, and writing. These are all things I learned about myself because of volunteering, and they are the things that kept me in volunteering. I truly appreciate what Ms. Parsons and our Community Engagement team are trying to do. I hope, though, that in the future, we can begin to expand the program so that it impacts as many people as possible.