Giving back during the holidays



Senior Sidney Serna and junior Hannah Yoon volunteer for different organizations during the holiday season. Photos by Rahima Baluch and Cathy Zhao

Rahima Baluch and Cathy Zhao

Sidney Serna

Rahima Baluch

Giving back through volunteering and donating are an integral part of many clubs at Inglemoor. Many students strive to give time in their communities to fulfill hour requirements for clubs, but for some students volunteering means something more.

As the holiday season rolls around, senior Sidney Serna prepares to participate in community volunteering activities.

Although Serna said it wasn’t a holiday tradition, volunteering is something she’s done since sophomore year. Serna said she looks forward to participating in volunteering throughout the year.

Serna finds opportunities to volunteer through Key Club and also through non-profits reaching out to her about events.

The club is a non-profit organization that strives to make the world a better place through helping others, according to the Key Club website; as a Key Club executive member, a part of Serna’s work revolves around giving back. However, Serna believes it’s important that people think about more than fulfilling hours when it comes to volunteering.

“Volunteering around the school community is just a lot about Valhalla hours and not really thinking about what they’re actually volunteering for,” Serna said. “[For me] it doesn’t really seem like a second thought like ‘oh, I have to volunteer.’”

She said she tries to dedicate whole days to volunteering, prioritizing it and making time for it by getting homework done earlier.

Though Serna volunteers at other times throughout the year, including at the YMCA Halloween festival, this time of year—the holiday season—is when Serna said she tries to volunteer the most.

“When people are talking about [this time of year] or like expressing how they’re going to see their families and stuff, but some people don’t really have that,” Serna said. “So it’s important… for me to really be out there and [try] to help any way I can.”

Serna volunteers with many different organizations, including the YMCA and Harborview. A lot of her activities focus around supporting families in need.

“[The events are] open to anyone who wants to come in and know about it, and [the events are] mostly for families who can’t afford anything,” Serna said.

In the past, some of Serna’s activities included face painting at YMCA festivals and passing out gifts to the homeless.

Helping children is a major part of Serna’s volunteer experience. Serna said that kids have a lot to learn and their situations should not hinder them.

“They’re our future you know… I think it’s important to give them the best that I can,” she said.

Though she said part of her reason for volunteering was that she had been raised to help others, her experience was a little more personal.

“There’s been situations in my life where I kind of needed that help, and it wasn’t really there. Now I’m in a good place and might as well just give back to those who [are] kind of in the same position as me [sic],” Serna said.

Serna said volunteering is not something to be afraid of.

“I was really scared to volunteer, and I didn’t really know who was going to be there. I thought it was going to be older people… but there’s just like a wide range of people there. People younger than me, too. It’s definitely a community to want to be apart of,” Serna said.

As a volunteer, Serna said she has one goal.

“My goal, always, is to try to get the person that I’m talking to, to smile,” she said. “It just makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”


Hannah Yoon

Cathy Zhao

Ever since playing piano at age four, junior Hannah Yoon has been deeply involved with music.

Yoon is the Music Director of Student Music Initiatives (SMI) a student led organization dedicated to using music to bring change in our community.

“We have a music group—a band—composed of Inglemoor High School students, and we perform in the Alderwood Mall courtyard area and receive donations from passersby and mall goers,” Yoon said.

According to Yoon, SMI will perform holiday music at Christmas Music for the Cure, with proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society.

“In past years, it’s been at Northgate, and so we’re not sure exactly how much [of a turnout there’ll be], but we do know that Alderwood is busier this time of year, especially since Northgate is undergoing construction,” Yoon said.

This is not the first time SMI is holding Christmas Music for the Cure, but it is the first year for Yoon since she joined in spring of 2019.

“I didn’t know about [SMI] until last year, but it seemed like a cool way to use my skills such as playing piano and also some leadership skills because I’m the Music Director,” Yoon said. “It seemed like a good way to use those skills to do more with my music and expand the range of good that my music can do.”

She said that giving back to the community drives a lot of SMI’s events.

“We have so many people here, who are passionate about music… Music can do a lot for yourself but also for other people. This is one of those ways where you can use music to give back to the community,” Yoon said.

Yoon said that the feeling of generosity is amplified during the holiday season.

“I think the atmosphere is especially great for volunteering during the holiday season just because everything’s so hopeful because it’s in the holiday,” said Yoon. “Especially during the winter, people need it most—[they] need this sense of coming together and working for a good cause… that’s why holiday volunteering is special.”