Volunteering offers more than social service hours

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    It was one hour, one night that started as one huge inconvenience.We all have good intentions that often get interrupted by daily activities; my commitment to hand out candy at Boo at the Zoo my freshman year was no exception.

    The community service activity of handing out candy to costumed children during the Halloween season sounded like a great idea in early September, but by the time the actual night rolled around, I was regretting my decision. I had papers to write, a test, not to mention a mixer I wanted to attend. Could I really spare an hour of my time?

    Yes, I could. And thankfully, I did.

    In that one hour, on that one night, I got to meet one very special child. The superhero costume he wore with pride was no different from many of the costumes I had seen roaming around the zoo, but it was what was under his cape that set apart this 7-year-old child.

    He was in a wheelchair.

    It was obvious he was still trying to adjust.

    He struggled down the wooden walkway and through the crowd of tiny trick-or-treaters.

    I was the lucky person who handed him his first handful of candy and escorted him to his favorite exhibit – the tiger. I was the lucky person who witnessed the beautiful smile shining through his mask.

    College campuses often compare themselves to bubbles isolated from the problems of our community, our country and our world.

    It is easy in the whirl of school work and social events to focus only on one’s self and one’s immediate surroundings.

    But that overlooks a significant part of what being an educated member of society means: A sense of service to others, of community trusteeship, of recognizing that we have been so blessed while others face very difficult challenges.

    I do not volunteer in the community as much as I feel I should.

    In years to come, when I look back on my experiences at TCU, I will remember the papers, exams and parties only faintly.

    But I will cherish the children I got to play with while participating in Up ‘Til Dawn, the patients I met from Cook Children’s Medical Center and the smile on the face of my little superhero as he watched the tigers.

    It is true what people say about college being the best four, or five, or six years of your life, and the years do fly by. But do try to find a little time to help others.

    You may find that one hour on one night will change your life as well as the lives of the people you serve.

    Jamie Crum is a senior broadcast journalism major from Colorado Springs, Colo.