Editorial: New Year, Not About You


Written by Grace Robinson and Sarah Snare

Despite your opinion on the election, the winter blues, or school stress, it is time to stop complaining and start acting. Almost all New Year’s resolutions are ego-centric. We’re not saying that it’s a bad thing to want to better yourself. Pledges to exercise regularly, eat better, or read more often are all good things; however, maybe it’s time to look at resolutions in a different way. We challenge you to resolve to help others and better your community. You may find the results to be more fulfilling because you’re making a difference for other people instead of yourself.

There are endless ways to become active in your community. You can start on a more intimate level by helping out around your neighborhood by doing odd jobs for neighbors like dog-walking, fence-painting, litter-collecting, or tree-planting.

Many people don’t know anything about the people who live around them. Make a resolution to learn more about your neighbors. Spend a day helping the man across the street paint his house, or help the mom next door carry in her groceries. Lend both a hand and an ear. While you help out, ask questions; make conversation; get to know them. This is an easy way to become involved in the community right outside your door.

Senior Kelly Keane is doing just that, but on a much bigger scale. In order to leave a lasting impact on her community, Keane is taking on the challenge of attaining her Girl Scouts Gold Award. Keane began this project about two years ago. Her final project plan was approved about four months ago, and she has been working vigorously ever since.

“I’m trying to set up a garden space and greenhouse at Culbert Elementary for the teachers to use in their science programs and so they can grow vegetable and plants year-round,” Keane explained.

Keane is recruiting volunteers from her community and here at Woodgrove to assist with construction of the garden and greenhouse. Keane really hopes to leave her mark on the community with the completion of her project in the next few months.

“The whole point of the Gold Award is to leave the community a better place, so that’s my goal. I want to enhance the school and the students’ learning experience for the years to come,” Keane said. “I just want to leave a good impact on my community as I go off to college.”

Keane is the ideal model of service to one’s community. Her initiative in the project has shown exemplary character and pure kindness that the rest of the world could benefit from learning. You don’t have to go this big to make a difference, though. Your goal doesn’t have to be to change the world. Any act of kindness makes a difference, whether it affects hundreds of lives or just one.

Another fun way to get involved is to do something involving animals. Make a resolution to make a difference for your favorite furry friends. An obvious way to do this is to volunteer at the Loudoun County Animal Shelter, which is conveniently right here in western Loudoun, at the intersection of Routes 9 and 704.

You could also get creative with it by hosting a “dog wash,”similar to a car wash. Grab a hose, some soap, and an armful of towels and head out to a parking lot with signs offering to wash people’s dogs. This is a win for everyone involved. You get to play with puppies, and the dog owners have a clean pet to take home.

Woodgrove High School as a whole has made remarkable efforts in the past few years to make a difference and give back to the community by selecting a charity to support each school year and by founding several public service oriented clubs such as Athlete-to-Athlete and We’re All Human. Make a resolution to start small. Get involved at a school level. Just go to a club meeting or event to get a feel for the world of volunteering.

Senior Rozlan Basha, a four-year member of the Athlete-to-Athlete club promotes it as a fun, yet influential way to get involved with the community.

“You’re not doing it just to play sports,” Basha said. “You’re for that bigger cause, that cause of breaking down the barrier between special needs children and adults. It’s just such an amazing program.”

We challenge you to take the initiative that Keane and Basha have found. Find something you’re passionate about and get involved, whether is the betterment of your neighborhood, caring for animals or the improvement of your school. Check out “Work, Honor, Service” on page four for ideas on how to get involved year-round. Make a resolution to make 2017 the year that you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on your community