Teen Perspectives: Teen Volunteerism

Maddie Brumfield

    In a world plagued with self-focused social media scrolling and narcissism, it’s easy to forget we aren’t the only person in the world. Teens have more influence than any generation before with their online followings and ability to get thousands of views with one click. Some Ashland area teens are using their influence to inspire others to get involved in their communities.
    Clayton Crum, Boyd County football kicker, along with other home economics classmates, makes food for churches and those in need. Crum, also a senior soccer player, said he has learned how to cook an amazing bacon wrapped meatloaf and how to serve others better. Crum added that he likes to cook and be with friends. Over the years of being in the program has begun to like it for service rather than just being with friends or a hobby. Home economics teacher Becky Lynch oversees this operation, to make sure no one’s eyebrows get singed.
    Khyla Fowler and Abby Campbell have helped out at the local soup kitchen, Ashland Community Kitchen, together, literally serving others side by side. Campbell also volunteers every May for the special needs prom thrown by the I Believe Foundation. She noted that her experience with special needs students has helped her with compassion, patience, and investing in people.
    Campbell, a senior, also uses her gym period to exercise along with the special needs students. She doesn’t use the dance or the gym time as community service and has said that these students have truly become some of her best friends.
    Garrett Crum, Clayton’s little brother, and their dad Jason took to the Ashland streets during last May’s Repair Affair to repair homes owned by low-income and elderly residents. The Repair Affair will take place again this year on May 16.
     Miclaya Jones helps the parents out at Heritage Freewill Baptist Church by watching their children on Sundays. Jones said she decided to volunteer because she was looking for a way to help more in the church.  Jones noted that one time during a teaching session she asked the children to quiet down and one promptly replied, “No!” Jones said she has definitely learned patience through her volunteer work.
    Ashland area native Heather Jackson has taken many times to the Ohio River banks with the River Sweep crew. Jackson decided to volunteer to clean up for fun. She participated in the sweep with her family twice before she left for college and they have continued the tradition. Jackson said she learned that people don’t take care of the environment like they should. The River Sweep takes place again this year on June 20.
    I have volunteered with my church helping with landscaping at the Golden Girls home then I learned that service always looks different and sometimes it looks like digging up bushes.  I have also volunteered several times at the annual Cancer Survivors Day held by the Cabell Huntington Hospital. Volunteering in this way helped me to see that people who have survived the grueling treatment and diagnosis of cancer are in fact people just like us - they just hit a rough patch.
    I give up my time because I know that it’s not about me; serving helps us forget about ourselves and focus on the needs of others. Volunteering can not only bring us together with those who we are serving but also helps us make new connections with those we find along the way. Teens tend to get a bad rap for things like being lazy but there are plenty out here trying to help and inspire change. I hope this article gives a glimpse into the lives of a few local teens and inspires you to help this community that could always use your help.