Sowing the Seeds of Service
The JourneyCare Juniors and JourneyCare Youth Advisory Board participated in Global Youth Service Day, the largest day of volunteer service on the planet for kids and teens, with Planting Smiles. As part of Planting Smiles, the two groups prepared potted flowers and inspirational poems to be delivered to JourneyCare hospice patients and their families. JourneyCare has one of the few active Youth Hospice Volunteer programs in the nation, and Planting Smiles was made possible by support from HandsOn Suburban Chicago, Youth Service America and State Farm.
Today, JourneyCare Juniors Bridget and Annie, 10-year-old twin sisters, detail their experiences and discuss why they choose to volunteer:
During Planting Smiles I decorated flower pots with encouraging quotes and decorations for patients and their families. After I decorated my pot, I went outside and planted a flower in the pot and stuck a bow, as well as a JourneyCare Juniors sign, in the pot. I think the pots remind the patients of children when they them, because they are decorated by children. Also, if they can’t go outside, we bring the beautiful spring flowers inside for them.
I have done different volunteer work before, for groups like Feed My Starving Children and, of course, the JourneyCare Juniors. Some of the different things we have before for JourneyCare included making no-sew blankets for the people taking care of patients, writing letters to patients, making pet toys, and making body mists from essential oils. When we do projects like this it makes me feel good because I am helping someone going through tough times. The work is fun, but it helps patients at the same time.
All kids should volunteer. It’s a great way to spend your down time, you help the JourneyCare patients, and you have fun! Besides volunteering with groups like JourneyCare or Feed My Starving Children, you can even pick up garbage outside, or help pull weeds and plant flowers nearby. It is that simple. So go out and volunteer!
During Planting Smiles, a woman from the JourneyCare volunteer department talked to us about how much they appreciate our help.
To start, each of us got one flower pot. Then we wrote encouraging quotes or drew designs with markers. Each child placed the flower in the pot gently and then put a bow on it. After everything was done, we packaged them into bags for patients and went back inside to make more.
Our goal for this project was to make the patients feel refreshed, bright, and to surround them in a healthy environment, and to bring in some aromatherapy, too.
Like Annie, other projects I’ve done for JourneyCare include creating no-sew blankets, making dog treats, drawing cards for patients, and making an aromatherapy spritzer. They were fun to make and the work made me feel good, too.
It’s important for kids to volunteer because it’s your turn to give back to the world and to make the world a better place. After I’m done volunteering I feel really good inside. I think if each kid volunteers, slowly, we’ll start to see a difference in the world.
JourneyCare’s youth volunteer program offers opportunities for children as young as first grade to make a difference in their communities through activities that benefit our patients, their families and community seniors. Learn more at www.journeycare.org/volunteer/youth-volunteer-opportunities