Choosing to dedicate one’s time solely for the purpose of helping others is a decision which would be difficult for many to make, but for senior Sierra Rodewig, it was quite simple. With a strong desire to lend a hand and change people’s lives for the better, Rodewig was prompted to serve her community.
“I’ve always loved helping the people around me. I find more satisfaction in helping others than receiving help,” said Rodewig.
This desire Rodewig had to serve others called for an outlet. As a freshman, she found a school organization which centers around community service. National Junior Honor Society was the perfect way to start giving back to those who truly needed it.
Rodewig’s involvement in her community allowed her to observe the obstacles the members of it were forced to tackle. What she observed taught her how crucial it was for the people of Paoli to reach out and help each other.
“As the years have gone by, the community has faced countless challenges, and I find it even more important for the community to come together and be there for one another now,” said Rodewig.
The service became more personal to Rodewig when she realized how much volunteering could change things. Her discovery that giving leads receiving pushed her to continue helping others. She was rewarded with satisfaction after serving her community.
Rodewig has learned significant life skills by serving her community, such as how to have patience with both herself and others and how to communicate with people of all ages in a clear way.
Rodewig tries to donate her time to the people who really deserve to be helped out, the people who might not be considered otherwise and the people who are the most alone. By serving those who are usually in the dark, Rodewig is an encouraging, supportive influence.
“I believe my service has positively impacted others because I always try to focus on the more important opportunities. I focus on working with groups of people who aren’t always understood by everyone or who don’t have many people there for them,” said Rodewig.
Rodewig engages in several different service projects, most of which are Throop Elementary PTO sponsored. She helps out with Fall in Love with Reading, Bingo for Books and the Winter Holiday Festival. The Community Thanksgiving Dinner and the Special Olympics are also events Rodewig takes part in annually.
“I enjoy participating in these events because the PTO events serve highly influential children and allow students to make a positive impact on them early in life,” said Rodewig.
Tutoring is a large piece of her service as a whole and takes up most of her time. It is very fulfilling for her because she is able to cater to the specific student’s learning style and discuss things with them one-on-one, which they would not normally get in a classroom full of their peers. Rodewig is able to see her effect on students first-hand when helping them with school work and can tell how much of a difference she has made.
“Seeing the positive impact I have been able to make has kept me volunteering. Seeing the gratitude on other people’s faces when I am working with them is what keeps me going,” said Rodewig.
Although she loves helping others, service hasn’t always been easy for Rodewig. As a high school student, it’s not hard to get stressed out with all of the tests, homework and responsibilities one must juggle. Rodewig had all of those things to worry about and also had volunteering thrown into the mix.
All this weight on her shoulders can be overwhelming. However, Rodewig learned to balance her obligations by using all of the time available to her in the most efficient way possible.
The amount of great experiences Rodewig has had due to her service has left her with the hope to continue serving Paoli, even after she graduates this year.
Community service has become a priority to Rodewig, and its impact on her has been enriching. Her involvement in the community has shaped who she is today and has paved the way to the person she will become in the future.
Story by Masden Embry