A volunteering story by: Jessica smith

Sarina was assigned many tasks at the Hospice of East Bay. She had to do a lot of retail-like things. Sarina had to do a lot of greetings and interactions with a bunch of different people. This was such an easy task for her because she is very loud and outgoing. She always looked forward to helping people find things they were looking for, or just helping them out with general questions. She also had to go around fixing multiple things in the shop.

A lot of the time she spent fixing clothes racks or shelves. It took hours to refold and organize all of the different compartments they have. She would have to sort through the clothing and put it in the correct spots. Another thing Sarina had to do was do price checks as well as price different items. Sarina said, “most of the tasks I had to do were pretty easy. Pricing the items and interacting with all of the people that would come in were definitely two of my favorite parts of the whole experience.”

She also spent a lot of time interacting with her manager which made the days a whole lot easier. They truly became good friends, so spending time there with her wasn’t too bad at all. Sarina learned that the tasks she was assigned were ultimately for the good of the people and it allowed her to get through everything with much more ease. The different jobs she had to do we’re not hard, but they were definitely rewarding in the end.

The Inspiration

Sarina actually heard about this community service oppurtunity through me. She had been running out of time to complete her required hours for court ordered community service, so she was in a major rush to find a place, fast. I came across the Hospice of East Bay, and told her to call and do her volunteer work there, so she did. She didn’t have much inspiration behind initially doing the community service, especially there, besides the fact that she was sort of being forced to do it.

Sarina had done community service for school her senior year, but she didn’t have a very good experience. When she was younger she had a really great time doing missions work, but as she got older church began to get hard to stay so plugged into. She used to be really into church, but she moved a lot so it was hard to stay committed to one church. Sarina also works full time so it’s hard for her to donate a lot of time.

Eventually though, Sarina began to actually enjoy the volunteer work and her spirit changed. Instead of feeling forced to do it, she realized she was actually enjoying it. Sarina began to be motivated to work at the hospice, and wanted to continue to work there afterward. She loved the feeling she got from doing the community service, so she didnt want to give that feeling up. Her inspiration for volunteering had changed due to the great experience she had at that facility.

The Aha! moment…

Sarina learned a lot from this experience. The best and most important thing she learned was that volunteer work and community service does have such a great reward. She loved the feeling she would get after donating time to a non profit. Sarina has almost always worked in the food industry, so other types of work abilities weren’t her strong suit. From attending this place over others, it taught her so many different things in a retail aspect. Sarina learned to do many things with clothing, organizing, and pricing.

Without having to volunteer, she may have been stuck with only a skill set suitable for a restaurant or something to do with food, but after doing this, she is now able to say she has experience in retail which is a great perk. Sarina also learned a lot from the manager of the store. She and Sarina got along really well, and ended up sharing a lot with each other.

The manager there almost became a mentor to Sarina, and they got to be extremely close. She gained a very good friend through what she thought was a forced volunteer time. Sarina truly did learn a lot from giving community service a second chance. Many positives, both socially and professionally, came about because of the things she learned there.

To summarize it in three words…

  • Surprising
  • Fun
  • Rewarding

Why should you do this

Sarina definitely feels for the people that may have had bad experiences with community service, especially if they are being forced too. She said, “I totally get how you’re feeling, but I really challenge you to give it another chance. Doing that was one of the smartest things I have ever done.” Sarina learned so much from this experience that she truly does want others to either try it for the first time, or give it a second chance. It truly impacted her in such a positive way she recommends it for everyone.

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