“Ever since I was really young, I was that kid that would talk about how much I wanted to help people,” said junior Hayoung Lim. “I would say [things] like, ‘when I get money, I’m going to give all of it to the homeless people.’ I’ve just always felt like I need to give back to society and help people. I know I would want to be helped.”
This compassionate mindset stems from an early age and has continued to grow, leading Lim to split his time between four different organizations. His volunteering ranges from organizing supply closets at the Family Partnership to helping middle-school students in a film class.
“As I got older, I guess it just grew,” said Lim. “I became more aware of society and what it’s like and how many people have it hard. It’s not always just. I wasn’t okay with that.”
His work with children, specifically those who have been diagnosed with ADD, has helped him to realize his desire to become a child psychologist and potentially integrate art into therapy.
“I care a lot about youth,” said Lim. “I care about helping people, especially children, feel like they have a safe community and a place to go.”
For Lim, and other Minnehaha Academy students, volunteering is more than something to put down on college applications and to pad resumes. It is a way to give back to the people and communities around them, and consequently, better themselves.
“My mom is always saying things like, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t go to the Family Partnership,’ or “Maybe you should cut back on one of your volunteer things,’” said Lim. “But for me, I feel like I have an obligation as a human being to help people. I feel like I should. I just have such a passion for these things.”
Volunteering has done more than set Lim up with good karma. Interacting with people he wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with has broadened his mind and given him the ability to be more aware of the world around him.
“I come from an upper-middle class family and I go to a private school – I mean I’m not exposed to much, in my current situation,” said Lim. “It’s a very [small] box. I think most people [at Minnehaha] have a similar situation. I feel I’m very lucky to be able to [experience the world] at a younger age than some people do. I think I have a stronger grasp on who I am and what life is about and the importance of life.”
With this knowledge, he is able to reflect on himself.
“I used to take whatever my parents told me, and what my friends told me and just things I heard, and believe it,” said Lim. “But now I actually put myself out in situations, I’ve found that not all those thoughts and beliefs are true. Some of them are ignorant and are based on assumptions. You don’t know until you’ve dealt with people who have lived through those issues. I feel stupid that I had preconceived notions of these things when I actually know nothing about them.”
As for the future, Lim has some worthy causes in mind to contribute his time to organizations such as the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).
“I really hope that during and after college, I can work with RAINN and AIDS organizations,” said Lim. “I’m so against ignorance, and I think there’s a lot of misconception around rape and AIDS. People aren’t informed and they don’t want to talk about it. And that’s not okay.”
He also plans to work with the LGBTQ community.
“I can relate to them, and I know there are so many people that are worse off than I am,” said Lim. “I definitely want to be a part of the Trevor Project, which is a phone service for those who are feeling suicidal because of their sexual orientation. I want to make sure that they know that is does get better.”
Lim encourages students to get involved with volunteering and offers one solid piece of advice.
“Find something that interests you or that you feel a great passion for,” said Lim. “Go anywhere and everywhere and just find things to do. Find something that’s meaningful. Use your abilities. Don’t deny your passions.”