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We have volunteers from local high schools fulfilling tasks in food service, outreach preparation, event attendants, and so much more.  Without their support, our events would not be as successful.  One such volunteer shares her reason for working with us.

Shreya Basireddy is a junior at Notre Dame High School in Downtown San Jose. She enjoys singing, dancing, playing video games, ice skating, and watching movies. She currently plans on pursuing engineering combined with art while, also, focusing on her dreams of being a scriptwriter. She discovered Know A Vet through her high school in her sophomore year and has been volunteering with them ever since.

 5 Reasons I Chose to Volunteer for Know A Vet – By Shreya Basireddy

School Requirement
It was another day in 2016. The school year was ending, and everyone was growing restless. I was just sitting with my homeroom waiting to hear the next year’s volunteering theme. I hoped it would be something easy to work with. Every year, I and all other students at my high school are required to complete volunteer hours that follow a “theme” of volunteering. We tend to use opportunities from the school to fulfill these hours, and I wondered what it could be. Suddenly, the theme was announced: marginalized communities. I was immediately confused. “What kind of marginalized community could I even work with?” I thought. I wanted to volunteer over the summer, but I didn’t know where to start. A few days later, my entire class received an email of volunteer opportunities; one of those was working with Know a Vet. I didn’t even know that veterans were a marginalized community. However, it seemed simple and worked with my schedule, so I decided to click “sign up” and volunteer. Though I may have begun my volunteering with Know A Vet out of necessity to complete my school volunteering hours, I have developed a new appreciation and 4 new reasons for volunteering with them.

A great experience for a positive contribution to the community
That year, I went to my first volunteering event with Know A Vet. I had a tremendously great experience and felt as if my volunteering time was a small contribution to actually benefit another community. This is the second reason I volunteered with Know A Vet and the main reason why I keep coming back. I know that every time I volunteer, whatever I’m doing, no matter how big or small, is making a positive impact on the veteran community. I’ve seen, through volunteering with events, the smiles that are put on so many veterans’ faces when they are being recognized and appreciated for their service. I like knowing that what I’m doing is going to have a good impact, and volunteering with Know A Vet guarantees that.

Genuine desire to help and inform
The third reason I volunteer is because of their genuine desire to help and inform as many people as they can. Know A Vet works incredibly hard to spread awareness about not only their organization’s support but also information of what veterans may be facing. One of my volunteering tasks was folding information cards with information about resources on how to support veterans. When volunteering, I want to know that the organization I’m working with is reaching out to and informing their desired audience and community in as many ways as possible. Know A Vet does this by holding fairs and events for elementary and middle schoolers to learn about veterans, who they may be, and how to help them with resources. I appreciate the fact that I can work with an organization that spreads awareness of the issue they are trying to combat to as many people as possible and helps the veteran community in as many ways as they can.

A sense of belonging
Another reason that I keep coming back to volunteering is the fact that I always feel welcome. The environment of helping and service make me feel as if my participation is always put to good use. Everyone at Know A Vet treats their own veterans, staff, and even the old and new volunteers as a family. Everyone who helps with the events and smaller volunteering jobs is appreciated equally for what they have done and are given chances to keep coming back. Being in an environment that is so welcoming and supportive of new hands to give help is truly reassuring because I always feel comfortable in returning for a new volunteering job.

Open new horizons
Lastly, volunteering gives me a whole new experience to interact with those who I would have never normally interacted with. I personally have never known anyone who was a veteran; either as family or friends, so I never would have thought to focus my volunteering with veterans. Now being able to not only learn more about what veterans face but also how to help them has widened my range of what I can do and who I can help. I’ve also gotten the unique chance at holiday events to talk with the veterans and hear their stories. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to provide a good experience for those who in return offer a learning experience for me. Every event I volunteer at teaches me more about veterans and about people in general.

 

 

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