8 Ways I Have Changed Since I Started Volunteering

Volunteering and meeting refugees was one of the most life-changing experiences for me. I learned so much about the world and myself than I ever thought I could. Here are 8 ways that I have been changed since I started my volunteer work:

I appreciate everything that I have

Growing up more privileged than most, I never knew the feelings of hunger or poverty. I never quite understood what it meant to loose everything and to not have a home. After meeting Syrian people who fled their homes, I saw how much I have always had that I never appreciated before. I started to appreciate everything in my life that I had never given much thought too or been grateful for.

I don’t like complaining about the little things in life

Complaining is something we all do often; about the weather, our clothes, pain, or people around us. I have seen how these people are forced to live, sometimes walking for miles on end, sleeping in parking lots, or never changing their clothes. I now feel so bad every time I complain, and I try to stop myself as I speak, thinking about how lucky I actually am.

I love to give back

Giving is the most beautiful thing in the entire world. Not only does it make others  happy, it makes you feel good as well. It is food for the soul and what keeps me going and waking up in the morning.  I realized how seeing a glowing heart full of joy is the greatest reward in my life.

I enjoy putting smiles on peoples faces

I love the moment when people smile. Doing good deeds and helping others is so beautiful, it is the greatest gift and experience I  have had in my life. I felt that each time I saw a refugee child smile – it is giving them a glimpse of hope and happiness in a very difficult time of their lives.

Love is stronger than fear

The refugees I have met have shown me that, not matter the horrible things we go through, there still is a chance for love and that it is always stronger than fear. I have realized that no matter how sad and hard our lives may seem, if we have love and hope to keep us going, the world will become better and brighter.

 I don’t need anything superficial

I have realized how all those superficial things I used to love are not important in life, and love, kindness and friendship are what really matter. The more I volunteer and travel, the more I realize how items do not hold the same value as friendships, memories, and life-changing experiences.

Enjoy every day because you never know when things can change

I have gotten a glimpse of what the refugee’s lives have been like and I realized how we never know how long we have together and when things could change. We must enjoy every single day with our friends and family because we never know how long we have left.

There is always hope for tomorrow

The most important thing they have taught me is HOPE. No matter how hard and down and out things seem, there is always hope for tomorrow. These people have so much hope in their hearts and are doing anything to reach their dreams of a better life.

Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful day,

Kaitlin Siena

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