Volunteering Saved My Life

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I wanted to share my story because volunteer work and community service literally saved my life.

As a child I suffered from social anxiety, had a learning disability, and was even held back in first grade for developmental issues. I had such a severe learning disability in math and reading, I was placed into a special education reading and math program until 5th grade. As a result I grew into a teen that was withdrawn, and often times isolated from my peers.

After the divorce of my parents at age fifteen I felt as if I had lost everything. On the night of my sixteenth birthday I was rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, a suicide attempt, and hospitalized for depression. The following weeks would be the turning point in my life.

With the advice and encouragement from a friend, I decided to walk in the March of Dimes event. It saved my life. For the first time ever, I felt I was doing something with a purpose and in turn it gave me a sense of worth and meaning. Up until then I had felt like I was a burden to people around me. Whereas at the event, I felt like I meant something to someone and was doing good for those around me. I then immersed myself in volunteer work.

I am now 27 years old and have worked with charities such at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, March of Dimes, AIDS Walk New York, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the Special Olympics. I also volunteer as an EMT with the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps where I was a volunteer 9/11 rescue worker from September 11th to September 12th 2001. In 2006 I also volunteered in a children’s HIV / AIDS orphanage in Brazil with Cross-Cultural Solutions. I am currently planning another volunteer trip to Africa in May 2010.

Volunteer work and community service had such an important impact in my life I felt it was important to share my story with you. Please know that there are other people that you can help.

Yours in service,

Jason G.

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