Throughout my high school career I’ve been fortunate to participate in a variety of community service projects; however, none have been as meaningful to me as the one involving “Alfred”.
While looking for a way to earn my service hours I stumbled upon a unique opportunity to not only gain these hours but also to be able to make a direct impact on the people who live in my community. My school’s student government association was hosting the Broward county Special Olympics and needed volunteers to work with the athletes. I was excited at the idea of assisting people who come so far despite their challenges. On the day of the games I was assigned to be Alfred’s buddy. My responsibilities included helping him prepare both physically and mentally for his tennis competition. I escorted him to the opening ceremony and his exuberance took over. We spent several hours before his event walking around to observe the other athletes and discussing both his nervousness and his excitement about finally being at this tournament for which he had spent months preparing. With the scorching heat of the day I was worried that he might became dehydrated so I made sure to provide him with plenty of water. By the time his event began I felt that Alfred and I had been friends for many years; he had a sense of compassion and anticipation that was contagious and I couldn’t help but feel a rush of pride as he walked onto the court. Event though my duties consisted of keeping track of how many times he served and hit the ball, my most important job was to cheer him on.
Alfred won first place in his competition, and in many ways I felt like I won too. The experience of participating as a buddy in the Special Olympics helped me realize that anything is possible as long as I set my mind to it.