Nick isn’t your average twenty-something year old college student, he is a young man with a mission. Thanks to his first volunteer experience, right here at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, he realized he has a lot to give and that possibilities are endless. Check out his post below.
“I knew I wanted to do something, to add more meaning to my 20 year old life, but never knew what it was. After High School, my friends went off to college, and I took a semester off in hopes for opportunities to meet new people through getting involved with the community. After a web search, I came across Children’s Hospital. I applied to volunteer, went in for an interview, and was offered a position! I still remember my first shift: a nervous excitement, getting used to my surroundings, but the spark was there… and came to life after that shift. On my Children’s volunteer days, I would wake up happy. I made an effort to get good night sleep the day before, so that I had plenty of energy to work with patients.
The feeling of knowing I was helping others, making a hospital stay a little less scary is indescribable. I will never forget a patient I worked with; we never had that awkward first meeting stage, we were instantly buds. He challenged me to a game of Wii and I thought, “ok, I am older and really good at video games, so I will let him win.” Turns out there was no need for that, he was a skilled player and beat me time and time again! As my shifts at Children’s continued, I found myself signing up for more and more opportunities and charities that I could help with in the Twin Cities.
I helped with a couple of other organizations serving less fortunate populations, which continued to open my eyes at the importance of giving back. After countless smiles, laughs, and friendships built from these experiences, I caught myself sharing my experiences with my friends, family, and peers… letting them know that my goal in life was to live happily, forever, with laughter! I found myself being called the “volunteering guy”, having numerous people call or email me, asking how they can get involved, which inspired me to help coordinate opportunities. I started living my personal mantra, and decided that the way I wanted to live, should be the name of my movement… ‘Happily Forever Laughter.’ The organization I created encourages peers to lend a helping hand, instilling in people that they have a worth, and a purpose and can do more that they may believe they can do. Getting out into different communities, meeting new people, and spreading happiness is the best medicine.
Now, months and months later, I have coordinated over hundreds of volunteer opportunities, and have been given the opportunity to sign off on volunteer hours for other U of M students. I will never forget that my mission all started from my positive experience at Children’s Hospital.” -Nick DeMarco