By Tucker Kenney ’24
Over the course of my fifteen year lifetime, I have had the privilege of experiencing some of the most exciting, fun, and fascinating times of my life through community service. Community service is something that often goes overlooked, and doesn’t get the recognition that it should. However, the impacts that community service itself has on others can be tremendous and incredible. To me, community service means providing some source of help, entertainment, or just simply helping out the community in any way possible. I have done this in several ways during my time, and I hope it is something that I will continue to do, because as I mentioned above, its impacts can be tremendous. I enjoy helping others because it makes me feel accomplished, and that I have helped someone in need. Community service goes beyond just food drives, car washes, and penny drives. Community service can be anything as simple as holding the door for someone at the grocery store. Now, it may seem cliche, but it’s true. Sometimes all someone needs is something like that to make their day just a bit better
One of the ways that I personally have been able to grow my community service skills and perform them is through Woodside One Wheelers. Woodside One Wheelers is a performing circus arts group based out of Topsham, Maine at my elementary school, Woodside Elementary School. I have been a member of Woodside One Wheelers, also known as W.O.W., for about nine years. I started performing with W.O.W. in grade one, and am still a member to this day. As a group we not only perform, but help the local community. W.O.W. often runs food drives, fundraisers, and benefit performances for local charities or organizations. W.O.W. has taken me to many places that I would not have been able to go otherwise, including the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Parade and Street Performance, The Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Parade, The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Philadelphia 76er’s Halftime Show, and many more. These trips have allowed us to provide entertainment and help communities. I remember one specific event that made a lasting impression on me. This was during our Philadelphia trip in 2018 when we were performing and teaching at a downtown YMCA in Philadelphia. This performance was especially important to me because it made me happy to see all the children’s faces light up after seeing a unicycle for the first time. This experience may not seem like a typical community service event, but to me it is one of the best examples of giving back to the community. We not only taught these kids how to juggle and to perform with a group, but we taught them how to set a goal and work for it. That is special, and something that many children don’t have exposure to growing up. Once again, making these kids’ days just a little bit better left me with a smile on my face and gave me the feeling that I had helped and given back to the community.
Another opportunity that has allowed me to provide community service and help local communities is the Hebron Round Square. Round Square has taken me on many adventures already, and I hope to continue these adventures for my entire high school career. Through Round Square, I have participated in many events such as trash cleanup along Station Road, camping trips, and volunteer trips. Similar to W.O.W., I have one experience that stands out from others, and I wanted to talk a little more about it. MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program is a hunger prevention program based out of Brunswick, Maine, not far from my childhood home. The goal of MidCoast Hunger, otherwise known as M.C.H.P.P., is to put food in the kitchens of local families in need who are struggling to find food and meals. Through Hebron Round Square, I was able to take on my own individual project and plan a volunteer opportunity at M.C.H.P.P.. About five of us went to Brunswick and volunteered for about four hours helping make soup, cut vegetables, and plan meals. This experience was special to me because I was able to give back to a local organization that is close to my heart. It felt heartwarming to go home knowing that we had provided food for families who did not have three meals a day in a warm home.
Creating bonds with friends and getting together to help out the communities around us is something that I will always remember and value for the rest of my life, and I hope to continue doing it. As was mentioned in my brief explanation of my W.O.W. performance in Philadelphia, my community service has not only been special to me because I have helped others around me, but that I have also been able to learn valuable lessons within myself. The community service I have provided has allowed me to pass on lessons about not giving up and setting goals to achieve eventually. To me, community service is about giving back to others around you in order to make a difference and a better world.