By Garrett Powell, volunteer at Masonic Village at Sewickley and 2013 scholarship recipient
Photo by Tamara’s Camera Photography
Since middle school, I have always loved being actively involved in the community. At a young age, I began accompanying my mother and siblings to nursing homes where we assisted with group activities, holiday parties, cooking and art classes. At the time of my high school graduation, I had accumulated approximately 600 community service hours.
While in high school, I regularly visited my grandparents who reside in a nursing center, thus deciding to volunteer at Masonic Village at Sewickley was an easy and natural choice.
My favorite activity while volunteering was spending time with residents watching or talking sports. Some of my most memorable experiences occurred during the time I spent with a particular gentlemen watching Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games and discussing current events. After many weeks of conversations, this gentleman told me that he thought of me as a son because he had someone to talk and laugh with, and something to look forward to for that week to come! He went on to explain that his own family had been visiting less often, and I reminded him of his grandson. To make this individual’s days more meaningful is what volunteering and community service is all about!
I am very impressed with every part of Masonic Village! The staff were very welcoming, especially the Activities Department. They provided me choices, making my experience unique and rewarding. Everyone was kind to me and always interested about my life outside of Masonic Village. I made some lasting friendships.
Life’s Next Journey
My experience at Masonic Village taught me many life lessons that have helped me in my journey thus far through college. I learned that you should enjoy every moment and every person that walks into your life, and that happiness has to be made out of the situation you are given.
As a freshman at Virginia Tech, being a member of the Residential Leadership living and learning community has allowed me to continue my community service in the Blacksburg community. I am currently volunteering at Warm Hearth Village and a local elementary school.
The building program I witnessed during my time at Masonic Village at Sewickley inspired my interest related to community living options in college. It is my desire to continue to volunteer my time and talents at Masonic Village during my summer and holiday vacations. I would encourage all high school students to become involved in community service and consider spending their time with the senior population, a group of individuals who have so much to teach us.
Masonic Village at Sewickley and Elizabethtown award $2,500 scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have volunteered at least 100 hours at Masonic Village. Students and others interested in volunteering at any Masonic Villages location are encouraged to visit our website.