In Focus

Working Hard to Give Them Meals

ALEX DAGMAN

STAFF WRITER

  “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

  Sixty years ago, Winston Churchill wrote these words to galvanize the English
people. What was true then is true today. After school and other extracurriculars, volunteering may be the last thing
on your mind. But it’s important, and
here’s why:

   The community relies on us to give back. Individuals, cities, and nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to help out. Even small things, like picking up trash, can
benefit society.

   “Volunteering is great for the community. Also, I think it’s great for your character,” freshman Max Banning said.

   There is no volunteering that is meaningless. Whether you clean up the streets, tutor at-risk kids, or help out at a homeless shelter, you can better a person’s life.

   “It helps everyone who isn’t as lucky as we are,” Banning said.

   But volunteering takes time — time that Pinewood students don’t have.
Between homework, school, and other extracurriculars, we have very few opportunities to give back. I find it very hard to volunteer; I have school and other commitments from early in the morning to late
at night.

    But I still find time. Earlier this year, I could have taught tennis to at-risk middle schoolers. I would have gladly taken the opportunity, but because of sports, I didn’t have the time.

   The Panther Prints surveyed Pinewood about volunteering and extracurriculars. About 75 percent of those interviewed did
more than three extracurriculars, and
over half preferred sports over other extracurriculars. Though we didn’t
survey everyone, sports clearly matter to Pinewood students. Unfortunately,
they also take up more time than most other extracurriculars. Since most Pinewood sports practice four to five days every week, it can be tough for student athletes
to volunteer.

   But the solution is not to quit other meaningful and important activities. You must find a balance between helping others and helping yourself. While volunteering benefits the community and the city, sports and other extracurriculars allow us to express ourselves and simply have fun outside
of school.

   Luckily, we always have the weekend. Rather than choose between extracurriculars and volunteering, we can work on Saturday and Sunday. During the week, we can do extracurriculars, express ourselves, and play sports. Over the weekend, we can relax and give back to the community. There can — and should — always be
a balance.

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