In my opinion, YVC strikes a chord with me when I’m able to see, in real time, the effect that my service is making for the people that I’m helping. I love seeing others smile, and while I graciously accept the thanks, I’m more proud that I was able to provide them with something they didn’t have before, just by donating a few minutes of my time. I would love to coin this type of service as “Tactile Service.”
A form of tactile service I participated in for YVC of Philadelphia was the Honey Festival in September of 2016. Every year, Bartram’s Gardens, a huge plant conservatory located in the heart of the city, invites members of the community to participate in activities and events centered around beekeeping, bee conservation, pollination and honey farming. It gives a spotlight to Philadelphia’s local small businesses and contributes to Philadelphia’s sense of unity.
When I arrived at the event, I helped with introductions, which entailed handing out fliers and welcoming guests to Bartram’s. There were many people from diverse age ranges, and I noticed that many of the smaller kids were eager to join in the festivities. Many were excited about the parade, while others were just happy to have a free apple provided by Whole Foods. Either way, it was great to see that kids were responding so positively to the event.
I swapped jobs with a few other students and worked with my fellow YVC of Philadelphia member, Winnie, to create bee costumes for kids. It was in these moments that I realized how expansive the kids section of the event was. It was located on a luscious green hill, unobstructed by foliage or any artificial structures. Despite its small size, it was the closest thing to a plain I’ve seen in the city and very well kept.
Kids would line up to our small section to create their own bee costumes. I was tasked with twisting together pipe cleaners to make bee antennae while Winnie fashioned together some wings out of cloth. It was a blast, and many of the kids, ages three to six, thanked us for their new costumes. It was one of the first times that I had the chance to see the impact I made on a group of people in real time. The joy present on both the kids and parents faces felt genuine and it was something that I know I directly affected.
That one day of “Tactile Service” is something that I will never forget, and it’s just one of many memories that I hold from Youth Volunteer Corps.