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A Student's Journey with the Om Foundation

“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve”--- Martin Luther King Jr.



My name is Aarya Raval, I am currently in 11th grade at Monroe Township High School. I have been volunteering for the OM Foundation for over two years. The experience has been deeply rewarding, it has offered a sense of purpose, community, and personal fulfillment. Volunteering and participating in the OM 5K race has provided me with the skills that necessitate effective teamwork. Whether it’s coordinating logistics, cheering on runners, or assisting with fundraising efforts, I have learned to collaborate with others toward a common goal. Being able to take on a leadership role within the organizing OM committee or just volunteering in a team cultivates leadership skills. Volunteers learn to delegate tasks, motivate others, and navigate challenges effectively, fostering personal growth and development. This cause is near to my heart; because each one of us has a loved one who is affected by cancer. The opportunity to make a difference in an area that matters to me is deeply rewarding. This personal connection I have has driven me to commit to volunteering my time and energy. Training for and completing a 5K race requires dedication and perseverance. Participants learn to push through physical and mental barriers, mirroring the resilience needed by pediatric cancer patients and their families in their fight against the disease. Engaging in The OM 5K for pediatric cancer fosters empathy towards those battling the disease, especially children. It cultivates a deep understanding of their struggles and the importance of supporting them through their journey.


For me participating as a volunteer in the race itself provides a sense of purpose which is beyond being a physical activity. Each stride I take helps me make a difference in the lives of many who are in need. Every step and every mile contributes to a greater good and motivates me to transform my passion for running into a positive change. Running with others brings a sense of community amongst participants with each person sharing the same goal that brings people together creating a network of like-minded people who unite to make a difference. Not only people but seeing dogs participate makes the experience even more humbling.


Volunteering for the OM 5K for me is not just about giving back but it is more about personal growth and development. It has challenged me to come out of my comfort shell and to push myself to those outer limits to overcome the challenges and obstacles that I face. Volunteering for the OM Foundation, I have developed many valuable skills such as optimism, perseverance, leadership, teamwork, communication, and resilience which have had a lasting impact on my personal and social development. The OM Foundation holds a special place in my heart, inspiring me to continue making a difference one step at a time. The 5K run is not just about crossing the finish line; it’s about gathering values of compassion, empathy, and perseverance while cultivating essential skills that extend far beyond the racecourse. It is the confirmation of the power of community and the human spirit in making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. The OM Foundation has become a family over the past 2 years, I am grateful to be part of a great team and am looking forward to participating year after year.

 


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