Hewan Abera, 14, of Washington, D.C., an eighth-grader at Saint Augustine Catholic School, enjoys volunteering at her school, her church and in the community to help those who are less fortunate than her. Hewan learned about community service from her parents at a very young age. Her mother and father told her, she said, that "volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." She also volunteers to show her gratitude for the assistance she and her parents received after arriving in the United States from Ethiopia. "There were a lot of people who stepped in to help my family adjust," she said. "When I do volunteer work, it's my way of showing how appreciative I am for all the people who gave back to my family."
Hewan volunteers at her school to help her teacher grade papers and to assist in the office. At church, she serves as a reader, a choir member and a guide. She also visits homeless shelters, and is a member of a committee that organizes a canned-food drive for the hungry. But her biggest commitment is to the kindergartners who are learning to love reading thanks to the books that Hewan reads to them and the fun activities she plans for them. Volunteering, said Hewan, "is the most fulfilling experience I have ever had, and I will continue to do it throughout my life."