Building early experiences of empathy and people connections toward a future promoting local and global civic engagement.
Georgia Hoffmann, of Winchester High School’s class of 2018, writes that she has lived in Winchester her whole life, although her father is from the Jersey Shore and her mother is from Maine. She describes her story as being rather untraditional in that for one thing, her mother had her older sister when she was 43 and had Georgia herself when she was 48. Additionally, in a remark that she says always gets a rise out of people, she attended her parents’ wedding. “Although I use these facts as jokes or conversation starters, they ultimately hold great meaning to me. Being raised by people of a much older generation has gifted me with wisdom and a kind of advice most of my peers do not gain from their relationship with their parents. I was raised with little to no technology, spending most of my early childhood playing outside and creating my own games and ways to entertain myself. Sure, at times I was jealous of my friends who watched the Disney Channel and had DS’s but I am grateful now for having that time to develop my imagination and creativity. My parents raised me without a traditional religion but rather a set of morals. My mother is the kindest person I know and as an avid outdoorswoman she has taught me to approach every person and living thing with respect and an open mind. My father has shown me that love and human connection are the most valuable parts of life. Their guidance and the example they set for me has led me to my commitment to serving individuals and communities across the country, and hopefully the world!
Interview with Georgia Hoffmann
Do you see any connection between all of the volunteer work you do in the ‘larger world’ and our common life here in Winchester?
It is difficult to compare what I have done in New Orleans and rural West Virginia to a suburban town full of wealth and resources. However, I do find small connections between the services to areas farther away and the way I communicate with and serve my community here. From my work I have learned to listen before I judge and to openly listen to those who have different experiences from myself. I feel that our community could do better with this type of “listening” and with accepting an experience or opinion outside of our understanding.