Yesterday, some students and I began our volunteer program at the local orphanage. This is the first group of students to visit--other students will take part next time. No photos are allowed of the interior, or of the children, but I can assure you that the place is clean, spacious, and well-staffed by caring people. Anyway, our (unofficial) big brother/big sister style program, taking place once per month, introduces high school students to the resident children of the home, about 90% of whom are developmentally and/or physically disabled. Most of the children will never be adopted, and have little contact with the outside world, so my students have graciously agreed to volunteer their time. I saw the joy on the children's faces as the students played with them, fed them, and held them, and saw how deeply the visit affected my students, as well. It's emotional, though (indeed, one of the students broke down as we were leaving), but I think the program is going to be beneficial for all of us. I'd like to visit more often than once a month, but both myself and the students have many other responsibilities to consider--at least this is a good start. I hope the experience inspires my students to continue volunteering, in some capacity, throughout their lives. I'm so proud of them!