On a cold and drizzly Saturday, October 14, 2014 to be exact, in walks a 13 year-old young woman who matter of factly and unpretentiously tells us that she wants to help local children who don’t have the basic things they need; clothes, books, toys and birthday presents. She goes on to tell us that she wants to start now and off she goes to work in the factory on her first volunteer day!
This remarkable young woman is Sam McGill. Sam is currently a freshman at Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School and has accumulated 470 volunteer hours to date, mostly on Saturdays and we are hard pressed to think of more than a few Saturday’s Sam has not been with us! Sam is currently helping us manage our Thrift Store.
Last Saturday we hosted our 3rd Annual “A Rising Tide Lifts All Hopes”, “Acushnet Clamboil and Lobster Dinner FriendRaiser” (photos here).
With an audience of 250 dinner guests, Sam was awarded our 2016 Student Volunteer Award. Sam was surprised when her name was called; not for receiving this prestigious award, but because she honestly did not think that what she was doing merited an award. In her words she was only doing what everyone should do and that was to help less fortunate people. especially children, because what had they done wrong?
We see thousands of children volunteering every year. They are mostly terrific kids. Some are extraordinary though and some are extraordinary. Sam is unique, she is beyond where most children her age are in terms of actually owning and fulfilling a commitment to others.
Our CEO and Founder Jim Stevens is fond of saying that “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy, that we vote in elections every so often, but each and every time we volunteer, we vote about who we are as a person and more importantly, we vote about the kind of community that we want to live in”.
Jim went on to say – Sam might not vote in the next election, but she’s been voting since the 7th grade, in the most important race there is – the human race. Sam is truly our Bright and Shining Light, she shows us every week what is the best about us and without any pretense or drama, does the work. Sam for us is a most perfect example of giving and service. Dr. King said it best – that to serve one needed a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. We see this in Sam every time we see her!