Helping the Community


Art by Serye Kim

Alexis Burch, Writer

Volunteering: the act of dedicating time to better the community. It is an act that draws people in for a number of reasons and changes their worldview.

The annual Night To Shine Prom was held at Geyer Springs church Feb. 12. The event is supported by former NFL player Tim Tebow and is for those with special needs who are in and out of high school.

Sophomore Michael Fuhrman attended the event with a group of friends. His job was to find anyone who was alone and turn their night around. He joined people on the dance floor, took pictures with them or accompanied them at the food table.

“Some friends of mine told me about the opportunity, and I thought it would be so much fun,” Fuhrman said. “It sounded like an awesome night.”

The experience caused Fuhrman to grow as a person.

“Everyone deserves respect,” Fuhrman said. “No matter who a person is or what they are going through, you should give them love.”

There are also entire camps dedicated to people with disabilities.

Sophomore Dahlia Bray is a counselor at Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock and has been volunteering since she was fourteen. The camp serves people with special needs of all ages. It does not try to make the campers feel “normal,” it instead allows them to do things they are usually excluded from.

“My best friend is disabled; she has muscular dystrophy,” Bray said. “I saw how much fun she had every summer, so I wanted in.”

Bray is assigned to campers who she helps wake up, eat and do activities such as canoeing and fishing.

“[Working with people with disabilities] is what I want to do when I grow up,” Bray said. “I feel like volunteering prepares me and has made me know what I want to do with my life.”

The camp has not only created opportunities for the campers, but for Bray.

“Being a counselor has impacted me a lot,” Bray said. “I make emotional bonds with the campers. It made me more empathetic to people around me.”

Other volunteer opportunities branch from a family connection. Senior AJ Wilming uses volunteering as an opportunity to give back to a community that gave so much to him.

“My mom used to own a daycare when I was really little,” Wilming said. “It gave me friends and a lot of good times. So if I could give that back to more kids, then I’m doing something right.”

Wilming volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, which is an after-school program that helps young students and allows them to have fun in a safe environment. He watches the kids to ensure they are involved in activities. He is also responsible for being a leader that the kids can look up to and relate to.

“The kids really connected with me,” Wilming said. “It made me realize how easy it is to affect someone’s life.”