Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Children and Happiness

Name: Karisma Pathak
From: Lexington, Massachusetts
Grade: 12
School: Lexington High School
Votes: 203

I chose to help impoverished children.

I am really fond of kids, and find peace in helping children. Before moving to
Massachusetts, I regularly volunteered at an English and Spanish
bilingual daycare for impoverished children. I strongly believe that
every child should receive an equal opportunity to feel safe, happy,
and succeed in school regardless of their family situation.

 Then, the summer before junior year, my family moved to Massachusetts and I couldn’t
volunteer at Tic-Toc anymore. The thought of me not being able to
keep on working with children was troubling. The first couple months
in Massachusetts, I constantly missed volunteering at the daycare and
felt really sad. Instead of sitting idle, I decided to look for
opportunities to help children.

 After some searching, I found an avenue to continue creating positive change in
the lives of children when I discovered Cradles to Crayons. Cradles
to Crayons is a local charity that supplies children living in low-
income and homeless situations, with the essential items they need to
thrive. I am a member of the Cradles to Crayons Teen Leadership
Corps, and am also the co-president of the Cradles to Crayons high
school club. I constantly keep myself busy doing clothing drives and
fundraising for the children Cradles to Crayons needs help to
support. In fact, I went to the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory to
drop a large donation of clothes from a clothing drive right before I
sat down to write this essay.

 I also champion a positive attitude, and encourage all to practice gratitude.

 Practice of gratitude will bring happiness and cheer in people’s lives. It will
strengthen them and spread happiness. Children in families practicing
gratitude will have long lasting benefit. Towards this effort, I have
set up a website (www.gratitudewall.org). I have spent over 700 hours
working on this website alone. Every time you post what you are
grateful for on the gratitude wall website, ten cents are donated to
Cradles to Crayons by sponsors.


My volunteer work has been sweet, personally enriching and challenging. Often times
volunteer and community service projects are dependent on the actions
of other people in the community. I depend on other people to bring
in donations, and donate money, or post on the gratitude wall, in
order for a drive or fundraiser to be successful. This can be
challenging because I can’t really control other people’s
actions. Also, sometimes when I tell people about the gratitude
wall, they tell me that it’s not a good idea, or that nobody will
use it, or that I should do something better with my time. This led
me to second guess the value of my work, and whether my project could
really help others. I dealt with this criticism by shaking it off and
moving on. I’m really thankful. It’s satisfying to see the end
results of volunteer efforts. Seeing people using and enjoying the
gratitude wall is good because it makes me feel like I’m doing
something meaningful.


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