By Rene Curtis | IG: @rene_ashleigh
I’ve always been a passionate volunteer. I recall volunteering in Grade Four as a Brownie Guide. When I matriculated to Secondary School at Merlgrove High, I became heavily involved in the school community. I was Form Captain, a student council representative, Vice President of the Sixth Form Association, Miss Merlgrove Ambassador, Secretary of the Environmental Science Club, a Quiz Team player, and member of the Debate Society. And that’s just to name a few! At one point, I spent 20 hours volunteering at the Half Way Tree Resident’s Magistrate Court and spearheading the Y-Teen Movement at the Jamaican Young Women’s Christian Association. My passion had turned deadly. That’s where Shashamane Sunrise came in.
As a volunteer for Shashamane Sunrise, I visited the National Baptist Basic School—it was a blast. Through the experience, I realized that I could give appreciation to the smallest things in life. They say it only takes a smile to get the fire going. What I found most surprising was how welcoming all of the children were. As soon as we walked through the doors, they gave us kisses and extended their hands to us—when we took them, they took us outside to play and talk.
Inspiration plays such a vital role in an individual’s life, especially in the lives of children. As I worked with students in grades K1 through K3, I was sure to bear in mind the Shash mantra: a pencil goes a long way! Throughout the day, we read, sang nursery rhymes (which all the children knew), and engaged them in Spanish lessons.
I can vividly recall a book that we read with the children: The Butterfly. The moral? Despite the fact that you might be just a “worm” and seem to have no purpose, you can blossom and create endless possibilities to benefit another person in the long run. Instilling the value of helping others in the children was such a great way to introduce them to charitable causes and volunteer work, setting them on the path of philanthropy and humanitarianism.
Making the unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life. I had an excellent first experience volunteering with Shashamane Sunrise, and I look forward to working with them in the future.
Rene Curtis is a Miss Global Jamaica 2016 and Miss Teen Jamaica 2015 Finalist, model, law student, and Shash Volunteer.