Kids Giving Back

Makayla Riley, Writer

At Downey High, students are actively getting involved in their community. By volunteering at such places like hospitals and parks, they are showing their willingness to aid others in a need to create a safe, clean, and caring environment.


Samantha Chiccarelli is a junior at Downey High who currently plays softball. She has also recently been awarded the Junior Volunteering Award by Principal Houts for her extraordinary service and dedication in serving others.


“It’s really surprising.” Chiccarelli said on being honored. “I didn’t do it for the award. It’s nice to go and know that I’m helping people. I enjoy it.”


Chiccarelli volunteers in the nursing department at Rancho Los Amigos Rehab Center. “The department I volunteer for specializes in orthopedics and diabetes,” she stated, “so a lot of our patients are not in the best health, or are having surgery. It’s nice to talk to them and let them know people are there for them, even if it’s just getting them a glass of water.”

Volunteering also gives people a chance to observe their field of study, gaining perspective into whether such a career is right for them. “I’ve always been interested in the medical field, especially orthopedics.” Chiccarelli said. “It helped me to gain knowledge in medical terms, and it’s really helpful.”


The award winning junior also noted how volunteering has helped her to gain confidence in her social skills. “I’ve learned how to talk more to adults, especially adults in really high positions.” Chiccarelli said. “Also, the patients help to give me serenity and patience when helping them with their problems.”


Just like Chiccarelli, several clubs at Downey, including Kiwin’s Club, have been committed to volunteering through the weekend in their community.


Vanessa Valdovinos, 11, loves to see the reaction on people’s faces when she knows she did something to help others. Just last Wednesday on April 4, she participated in an event to feed the homeless.


“The reaction is that they’re so grateful.” Valdovinos said. “That’s what personally inspires me.”


Victoria Ceja, 11, likes the fact that she can make a change.


“I like making a change in the community.” Ceja said. “Knowing that I can make an impact and decide how to aide the community, I think that’s what most matters to me.”


When recognizing those who give back, it is important to acknowledge them for taking out time in their day to help others. That includes awards in the one that Chiccarelli received for her commitment to helping patients; but volunteering shouldn’t be taken as a motive only for accolades and praises. Volunteering should come from the heart, having a passion for lending a helping hand for those that can’t provide for themselves. The above mentioned have shown these aspects.


If you are interested in learning how you can volunteer more in your community, talk to your counselor, or look on the bulletin board in the office for a list of volunteering clubs to join.