I’ve volunteered through New York Cares for over 5 years at the same after-school sites, reading with but mostly doing arts and crafts projects with elementary school-aged children; not only do I help children with these activities, I try to instill respect and open-mindedness for others around them, steer them away from negative and inappropriate behaviors, and encourage creativity and independent thinking. I always return to the same projects because I want to create a sense of stability for the children and show them people care about them. It is a misconception that children are unaware of their surroundings, but they are fully aware. I know my efforts make a difference when a child’s face lights up upon seeing me, or when I am greeted with a hug after an absence. It has been a very rewarding experience and I hope to continue to make a difference.