‘Lights, drama… zombies?’

Volunteering, thwarting zombie apocalypse at same time


Harsimran Makkad

Camp CenterStage is more than just a theatre arts camp for young actors. It was also a chance to witness young minds in action. The play the actors put on this year, “Drama Geeks vs. Zombie Cheerleaders,” showed how much younger kids could put together in a limited amount of time; volunteering in any place can allow for similar opportunities to witness something you may not be able to see in a typical day.

“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”

The Greek philosopher Aristotle’s words demonstrate the importance of volunteer work and community service. It is not all about the hours but about the difference each person can make in other people’s lives.

And volunteering does not mean you have to help out in a soup kitchen. It may be as simple as giving time to assist someone in a particular job field, such as volunteering at a hospital or dance studio.

“My mom, my sister, and I have volunteered at Matthew 25 Ministries, a nursing home, and even this Spanish community center called Su Casa because my mom is Hispanic,” said Melinda Looney-Ho, 11.

This summer, I applied to and was accepted for a position as an apprentice at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where I wanted to help out in the theatre arts programs.

I was placed in a summer camp called Camp CenterStage, where I would help the director with various jobs, ranging from babysitting the attendees (ok, not babysitting since they were between eight and fifteen years old) to assisting with makeup and choreography.

It was not easy; in fact, many times I would trudge home, exhausted and frustrated with the antics of the youngsters I helped supervise and teach.

But I had the opportunity to witness these young minds in action as they performed on stage, learning an entire show in just two weeks.

It was fascinating to see them draft their characters and act them out, withering as zombies or thwarting the zombie apocalypse in the play “Drama Geeks vs. Zombie Cheerleaders.”

— By helping others, people can learn to help themselves.

Not only did I learn all about what goes behind the scenes of a show from the director’s perspective, but I also gained valuable leadership skills that will be useful in the future.

“My mom read an article recently which talked about the top ten things to do in order to be the happiest person. One of them was about volunteering for the community,” said Looney-Ho.

Volunteering can help develop the soft skills that are needed in the work place and at school, including social skills and leadership. It also allows people to see how their help affects other people’s lives.

“My mom and my sister wanted to get more involved in the community. They volunteered for Girls Scouts, getting the silver award for volunteer hours,” said Looney-Ho.

By helping others, people can learn to help themselves.

“We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves,” as the nun Pema Chodron once said.

There are various volunteer opportunities available for students throughout the year. You just need to find what works for you.

And who knows… maybe you will learn how to thwart a zombie apocalypse, too.