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Volunteering with Vidha: Why You Should Volunteer with HandsOn San Diego

October 11, 2022

Hi, my name is Vidha, and I’m a high school student volunteering with HandsOn San Diego as a blog writer. To do so has been a culmination of a journey with HandsOn San Diego for me, and this blog post is my way of sharing how volunteering with them has changed so much for me. If volunteering here can change so much in my life, then surely it can do something for yours too.

So, maybe about a year and a half ago, my sister, my dad, and I went volunteering at Wild Willow Farm. I particularly was not eager to go–how many people do you know that’ll willingly go into a field, with backbreaking heat, and roaches crawling all over the place? Anyways, I committed myself to go in order to acquire the hours I needed for school. While I was there, it was pretty much what I expected it to be. Fields? Check. Heat? Check. Bugs? Check. 

Yet there is something special I’ll always remember about that day. I remember how there was an ornithologist  (a person who studies or is an expert on birds) working on the aisle down from us, and she was staying in San Diego  for only a month, so she had come to Wild Willow Farm to explore further south. I remember how there was a harvest stall set up down at the parking lot, and how refreshing the food seemed after being in the heat for so long. I remember the laughs shared, the gallons of water bottles tossed around, and the freshness of the strawberries as we bit them, after working for a solid two hours. We bid farewell to everyone there, and as we got in the car and drove away, I told my dad I wanted to go there again.

And so we did. Seven more times over the course of the entire year. Old faces were spotted, new acquaintances introduced, and everyone who was there, over that course of three or so hours, formed a little, tight-knit community, in which you truly felt that together, you were making home just a little bit better.

You might say– “farming isn’t for me.” No need to do it then. I’ve volunteered at trash collection drives, dog food packing centers, and child nutrition centers, as well. And every single time, the same sense of belonging and community was there. Every single time, there was a face that joyfully greeted me, brought me into the flurry of volunteers working about, and I knew that here, I had a sense of purpose, never once did I feel that my contribution wasn’t needed or was irrelevant. 

I’m not saying that volunteering will always be this easy, or idyllic. It definitely isn’t; it might even be the hardest or longest work you’ve ever done in your life. But here at HandsOn San Diego, I’m telling you, give it a chance. It’ll be worth it. I promise. 

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