Andrew Woodward Downing is a seventh grader at Stuart Hall School for Boys, and he’s very active in his community.
Volunteering with the Miracle League has been one of his most rewarding experiences. Last spring, Downing was paired up with a buddy – a boy who’s autistic and has ADHD – to help him play baseball.
“This experience was challenging for me, because he didn’t speak to me at all,” says Downing. “By the end of the season he seemed more comfortable with me being his ‘buddy’ and seemed to have more fun playing baseball. I
also noticed the other kids and how they coped with their challenges and were able to have a good time.”
Downing is proud of his time working with the Miracle League because it was rewarding to see the smiles on the kids faces when they were playing baseball. On one occasion, he got to work with another buddy because his buddy was absent.
Downing thinks it’s important for teenagers to be involved in the community because every volunteer helps make the community a better place to live. “It feels good when you can see a positive change that you know you’ve helped to accomplish,” he says.
Downing volunteers with KaTREEna and has helped plant trees in Brechtel Memorial Park in Algiers. “One thing I noticed when working with KaTREEna,” he says, “was that we got the work done quickly because we had so many volunteers working together. If everyone does a little bit, you can accomplish something big.”
Downing gained a sense of happiness and satisfaction helping to make someone’s life easier and better. He learned that volunteering can be fun and a great way to meet peers. Through his activism he has gained confidence; he says he’s a little shy around new people, and volunteering has helped him overcome his shyness.
Downing likes to play sports, bike, swim and run. He also likes to read and hang out with friends. He isn’t exactly sure what he wants to do for a profession – after all, he’s only in seventh grade – but he knows he wants to volunteer and be active as much as he can in his community.