Written by: Terri Seydel
In many ways, Phillip Hyams is a typical American teenager, balancing his time between school, sports, and friends. He attends Brentwood High school and participates in the school’s sports program with the track, cross country, and basketball teams. Where he stands apart from other teenagers, is in what he chooses to do with his spare time.
Phillip has grown up in the close-knit community of Brentwood, TN. In fact, he lives in the same home that his mother grew up in and goes to the same schools she attended. A sense of connectedness and caring for others has been instilled in him through his own family’s ongoing involvement in various community and volunteer programs. He has been taught to ‘Spend, Save, & Give’ of his resources and that has become evident in how he chooses to live.
Together with his family, he enjoys a wide variety of volunteer work where they give their time and talent. He shares that he enjoys the hands-on opportunity to interact with people that have been affected by various issues in life. I asked Phillip what motivates him to sign up for volunteer work and he replied….
“to be honest, it’s just fun.”
One of his favorite volunteer efforts has been with Stop Hunger Now which strives to stop hunger by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable. Each Stop Hunger event aims to pack 100,000 meals within just a few hours all while incorporating friendly competition, music, and fun among family and friends. This energetic environment combined with the purpose of helping others makes this one of Phillip’s most favorite and meaningful things to do with his free time.
His most recent endeavor has been to co-found the Just Serve Club at his high school. He and a friend established this club to help organize volunteer events with their classmates. Each quarter, the club leverages the Just Serve website as a way to select an opportunity for the students to unite their volunteer efforts.
The club’s first event was with a mobile pantry for One Generation Away, an organization that distributes healthy foods to families throughout Middle Tennessee that currently do not have access to food sources due to economic and physical barriers. During this event, Phillip, the club members, as well as Phillip’s family all donated their time to organize and distribute food to people in need.
Seeing the gratitude and immediate impact on the lives of people has left a strong impression on Phillip. Many of these people had been affected by events related to the Covid-19 pandemic and he has come to realize that needs can be significant even close to home and that people’s lives can be unexpectedly impacted at any moment.
For anyone thinking of volunteering their time and talents, Phillip recommends they target something related to what they enjoy doing. He gives the example of his time spent volunteering alongside his dad as basketball referees for the Special Olympics. While this serves other people, it also lets him spend time with his dad, doing something that they both love. It’s a win-win for all involved.