What did Lily do for her volunteer hours in The Giver?

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In Jonas's highly structured, organized society, the Committee of Elders analyzes each child's behavior, interests, and performance during volunteer hours to determine their Assignment later on in life. In Chapter 3, Jonas's father brings home Gabriel, who is a newborn that struggles to meet his developmental milestones. Jonas's younger sister, Lily, enjoys Gabriel's presence and says that she wants to become a Birthmother when she grows older. Lily's mother immediately corrects her and mentions that being a Birthmother is not an honorable Assignment. Jonas's father then explains to Lily that Birthmother's do not even get to spend time with their children and Nurturers like himself are in charge of raising the babies and caring for the infants. Lily's mother then suggests that she spend her volunteer hours working at the Nurturing Center when she turns eight years old. Lily responds by saying, "Yes, I think I will" (Lowry, 22).

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Lily says she is going to spend her volunteer hours at the Nurturing Center.

When their father brings Gabriel home, Lily thinks the baby is very cute.  She says she wants to be a Birthmother.  Her mother reminds her that Birthmothers don’t even get to see their babies.  She has a better idea of how Lily can be around Newchildren.

"When you're an Eight and start your volunteer hours, you can try some at the Nurturing Center," Mother suggested. (ch 3, p. 22)

After the ceremony when Lily becomes an Eight, she chatters excitedly about her plans for starting volunteer hours during dinner.  She indeed would start at the Nurturing Center, “since she was already an expert at feeding Gabriel” (ch 9, p. 66).  Lily feels comfortable with the baby, and is able to branch out into the community and help the other babies.



Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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