I used to baulk at visits to the underprivileged and senior citizens' homes.
I expected to be bored, and the old folk to be grumpy or moody most of the time.
I was wrong.
After rolling up my sleeves to help clean up nursing homes as part of my co-curricular activity (the Red Cross), I feel it is a privilege to volunteer there.
The elderly have child-like innocence and greet us with radiant wide smiles.
They are natural jokers, and stories of their life experiences never fail to hold my attention.
I was glad to have the opportunity to inject some fun, purpose and a sense of being "alive" into their lives.
I strongly encourage the young to volunteer because helping others will enable one to be grateful for what one has and owns.
And that is unspeakably satisfying.
Justin Chua Jun Jie, 13
Secondary 1 student
CALLING YOUNG READERS: If you are a student or aged 21 years or below, and want to air your opinion on any report or letter in The Straits Times, e-mail your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject header ''Voices of Youth''. Do include your age, school level and contact details, and the headline of the report/letter you refer to.
Please keep to a length of 250 words.