As time went on, my required hours were done and I stayed. I really began to enjoy being there and I started taking the classes and getting emotionally involved in it and involved in the community that they had and we did projects and fundraising. I grew a lot while I was there not just because the passing of time but because of being in the environment at heARTS. It changed me. I became less critical on my own artwork, my own writing and and I became less critical of others.
I started to see that other people could be genuinely good because Lindsay was just such a kind person without having ulterior motives. I met a lot of people there that I wouldn't of met otherwise and I met other people just like Lindsay who are just nice because that's just how they were, for example the beading instructors and the other members of the Youth Advisory Board.
After about a year, I had gotten all my volunteering hours and I didn't leave even though I told myself I would. I really learned a lot from heARTS and I feel like I've grown a lot there. Because of heARTS I've met a lot of really cool people and I've seen a lot of stuff that I wouldn't of seen otherwise.
Recently I've started working, there's been some stuff at home combined with school and everything is piling up so my time at heARTS is at an end. It's been a good run and I really enjoyed all the time that I've spent at heARTS. I've gained a lot from heARTS but above all I've become more courageous.
I am so grateful to have gotten to know Emma over the past year and a half. She really did just want to get her volunteering hours done when we first met-- which was a-ok with me!
One of the conversations we are consistently having at heARTS is about self-care and the need to make space for ourselves as we are also making space for others. We (as a society) are often torn between the things we want to do or feel like we should do, and the things we need to do for our own peace of mind and overall well-being. Sometimes saying no, even when we want to say yes, is the most courageous thing we can do.