In the words of Albert Pike, “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Community service has that reputation for being a necessary college application filler, a dreary high school requirement, or an activity, as Miles always teased me about, that only “goody two-shoes” partake in. However, through my experiences in volunteering, I feel as though I have grown to appreciate the wider world that surrounds me. Throughout high school, I have been a volunteer at both Mass Audubon Long Pasture in Barnstable and at Wildcare in Eastham. Both of these non-profit organizations have given me the opportunity to work with people and animals that I otherwise would not have even encountered, as well as provided to me an invaluable sense of necessity and importance.

Ever since our Volunteer Day at the Lighthouse Charter School, I knew that I wanted to volunteer somewhere that impacted the wildlife and animals on Cape Cod. At Mass Audubon, I helped with many of their programs and activities. Scheduling and booking programs, greeting visitors, showing them around nature trails, and organizing administrative papers were a few of the many miscellaneous tasks that I performed there. During the summer, I volunteered as an education assistant to the Wildlife and Ecology program for kids. To see children at such a young age so engaged and fascinated with learning about Cape Cod was by far the most rewarding aspect. Their broad smiles and sweet giggles inspired within me a feeling of significance, as I could see that these young children would grow up and continue pursuing something that they were passionate about.

My volunteer work at Wildcare was much more hands-on with animals. I mainly participated in
the baby-bird program in which I fed, took care of, and nursed back to health tiny fledglings. Using
syringes, I would feed them a mixture of insecticide formula and worms. The worst part was definitely having to crush the heads of the worms so that they wouldn't be able to crawl back up the bird’s throats, but feeding them was still very cute. I also had the opportunity to feed and take care of ten baby squirrels. To be in such close proximity to these young animals was very exciting and truly remarkable for me.

My experiences in community service have expanded my interests and inspired me to pursue some kind of career working and researching animals and their interactions. It has become more than just an extra activity or a plus on a resume, it has manifested itself into something that I am truly passionate about.
Hannah Montoya
2014 Miles Fund Award Winner
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