What I learnt from Volunteering on Campus

Ellen, Year 13, Gubei Campus

This year was my first year of organising student volunteers for YCIS’s annual Christmas Bazaar. I have gone to the bazaars in the past and it always astounded me how each stall was so individual, everyone was smiling and happy, and everyone seemed to know exactly what they were doing. Even when I volunteered for the Environment Club stall last year, I didn’t fully immerse myself in the behind-the-scenes operations. I didn’t yet completely comprehend and appreciate the enormous effort it takes to run an event like this successfully. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to help make it easier for the parent volunteers who willingly take the time and energy to create something that really brings the whole school community together and opens us up to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

My project partner, Jennifer, and I organised two briefing meetings for the student volunteers prior to the event, and I thought I was familiar with the basic structure and layout of the stalls. However, I found myself spending most of the morning running around, guiding student volunteers to their different stations, and helping out wherever I was needed (mostly at the front table). However, as the day progressed and I started to get a feel for how things actually looked as a whole, I started seeing hopeful things that reminded me of what this event is actually about: giving and joy. I saw stalls with throngs of people lined up eagerly admiring rows of beautifully decorated cupcakes. I saw small children beaming from ear-to-ear with colourful patterns painted on their faces. I saw people of all ages walking around from stall to stall, chatting, mingling, buying, all around content with everything they saw. The food from the vendor’s carts smelled delicious, the jewelry, mosaics, and ornaments were expertly arranged, and every person seemed genuinely delighted to be there. I walked through the bazaar for the remainder of the day mainly observing, (occasionally sampling and buying!) and I felt proud.

After the event finished and Jennifer and I began packing up, I felt truly fulfilled. This was such a successful event that so many people enjoyed that I felt like all of the work was worth it. If I wasn’t graduating in June, I would certainly have liked to help with the bazaar again – it truly meant a lot to me!

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