Hello, my name is Amber Smith. I’m 16 yrs. old and a junior at Springfield High School. I have two younger sisters, Rebecca and Megan. I’ve been a STARS participant from the first year it began. I started as a student and am now a volunteer. I came back as a volunteer because I wanted to give back to the program, I wanted to give the kids there what STARS gave me, which is: support, love, and family. The people at STARS have watched my sisters and I grow, they helped to make us who we are.
Also, I plan to go into social work, I want to talk to kids and help them through life’s struggles. I want to get to them before they become drug users and pregnant teens. Pull them out of abusive homes or just homes where no one cares about them. I want to befriend them, give them advice, and let them know that someone cares about them. STARS gives me the opportunity to jump into that sooner.
Angie, the current director, taught me everything I need to know about volunteering and helps me by preparing me for my future profession. She taught me that no matter how tough your life is, the second you walk through that door, you have to let it go. It’s not about you and your problems anymore, it’s about the kids and theirs. You’re there to help them through their tough times, be there for them, and teach them about God, academics, and life. You can help them by praising them or offering encouraging and kind words. Angie taught me that. Volunteering isn’t just about gaining community service hours for high school, it’s about helping others. You’re helping to shape kid’s future. For some kids, this is the only safe haven they have and I get to be a significant part in that. There is a girl at STARS that is a bit unruly. She gives Angie and the volunteers trouble sometimes. At first I thought that that was just the way she was, another annoying child. Well, my mom is friends with her grandfather and he told my mom a bit of her story. Her mom shoves her off on anyone she can, she’s irresponsible and careless. They’re living with strangers and one day, she found one of them dead. I know now that she’s not another bratty kid, She’s just a kid coping through something she should never have gone through and responding in the best way she can. So I try to be more careful in the judgments I make and how I treat the kids.
STARS is a blessing for everyone involved whether it be a volunteer, director, or student. I want to thank everyone there for what you’ve done for all of us, not just my family and I. I also want to let you know that I am looking forward to many more years together. Thank you and good day.
Springfield High School Junior