What started off as merely volunteering in order to attain my community service hours for school turned into a life lesson which shall resonate in me for quite some time. It all began on a normal Sunday when I grudgingly woke up early in order to make it to Creekside Park in Cupertino in time for my shift as a youth leader at AYSO VIP. AYSO VIP, a branch of the AYSO soccer league, is a program which allows teenagers to volunteer and help children with disabilities forget their shortcomings and just let loose by teaching them simple soccer techniques.
While observing the abilities of the children I was assigned to be a coach of, I noticed a little boy shyly hiding behind his mom. I soon found that this little boy was also a part of my group and so I began to try and make him feel more comfortable. At first, he resisted participating but the joyful shrieks of the other children combined with my ability to impress him with a few soccer tricks proved to be too tempting, and he too got in line with the other children for the dribbling practice.
While the children were practicing dribbling and kicking, I saw that the boy definitely had some talent and showed some good skill for a boy playing for his first time. When it was time for the scoring drill, one after another of the children failed to make the shot but this little guy? He was the first to score the goal out of all the children.
Once the ball hit the net, he came running to me with this great big grin on his face and hugged me and thanked me for helping him in scoring the goal. That smile I saw on his face was priceless and made me feel extremely grateful and special to be spending my time with such a sweet child.
This experience definitely left a major impact on my life; it taught me to never judge people that are different from myself rather accept them and give them a fair chance. Throughout the time that I worked with this boy, I found myself forgetting that he had a disability and was, in fact, different from myself. I treated him like I would a little brother or a friend and ended up enjoying myself quite a lot.
At the same time though, I learned to be grateful and happy for what I have instead of complaining about the smallest issues. The smile on that little one’s face after just making that one goal made me realize that no matter how difficult or bad times may get, I should focus more on those little successes that have the potential to make my day instead of the failures which would just bring me down. Who knew that one little boy could change my outlook on life so much?