Kid Hero Talks About Importance of Community Service, Volunteering
By Dave Woods • Official Kids Mag
Ryan Durby’s interest in volunteering and community service started at an early age.
“I guess it was cancer,” the 10-year-old Owl Creek Elementary fifth grader explained. “I was diagnosed when I was four-years old. We had to go to hospitals during the school year and I missed a lot of days. I’m fine now.”
During those visits to get treatments for the disease, Ryan became aware of the many opportunities for volunteer service. It wasn’t long until he found a way to get involved through the local Kiwanis Club.
“I first joined K-Kids when I was in second grade,” he said. “We made cards and went to nursing homes and we gave them to the people at Katherine’s Place. It was a great time for them.”
That started it all. Soon he was looking for ways to get involved in his school community. He joined his school’s Green Team.
“It’s a group at our school where we go around and recycle the trash in the building,” he said. “We pretty much try and make the school a better place. If we just throw the trash and waste and plastic stuff into the trash, we can’t reuse those materials and it ruins our earth. We all just need to work together because the earth is sort of a mess with toxic waste.”
This year another opportunity to make a difference arose and Ryan was all in.
“It’s Health Squad,” he said. “It was just started this year. We talked about exclusion and bullying. That’s most of it so far. We fight against bullying and that sort of stuff with the club.”
Ryan, a self-proclaimed ‘all-A’ student is a good kid. Even his older sister, Lauryn, thinks so. She might even have Ryan to thank for her interest in community service. Now 17, and a senior at Fayetteville High School, she’s been involved in volunteering since she was her little brother’s age.
“I got involved because my brother did have cancer,” she said. “When he was diagnosed, my fourth grade class sent him cards at Children’s Hospital. I think that’s what sparked an interest in community service for me and my brother.”
Lauryn must be doing something right. She was recently named Youth of the Year for their Boys and Girls Club.
Watching her brother grow and fight cancer has been an awakening experience for her. After all, siblings often have a special bond.
“It’s been interesting,” she said, with a little hesitation, and a laugh. “Sometimes he likes to brag about how smart he is and that’s kind of annoying. It’s also awe striking sometimes to watch him grow up.”
Both siblings plan to continue with their community involvement and volunteering. Lauryn explained its benefits in a very understandable way.
“Getting involved isn’t just about helping others,” she said. “It’s about helping yourself, too. From what I’ve seen, community service heals wounds internally.”