Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Importance of Giving Back

Name: Nolan Bridgewater
From: West Newbury, Massachusetts
Grade: Sophomore
School: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Votes: 125

Giving back to a community in need has become a great passion of mine;
however, I am looking to turn my passion in my career. After
volunteering in Detroit, Michigan for a week, I realized how
important it is to help those who are less fortunate. My whole
perspective on life and society has changed; there are so many things
that do not matter anymore. What really matters is safety, health,
and family/friends. As my group in Detroit worked with the variety of
homeless people in Detroit, I learned how homeless shelters worked
with the homeless to get them into housing and get them a job. After
I saw how happy and blessed the now employed and housed people were,
I realized that I wanted to be apart of this social change. I want
people to look at homeless people as people, and realize that
everybody has a story and nobody plans to be homeless. My
responsibilities included a variety of daily chores/activities, which
were cleaning trash off of the street, cooking for different homeless
shelters, and playing with the homeless children/giving them warm
clothes/food. The hardest part of my volunteer experience was to see
how many people are struggling in our country to take care of
themselves and their family. It was difficult to see children not
getting the adequate education they deserve. There are more homeless
children in the world than there are homeless adults. In my eyes,
education is a right not a privilege. My plan is to use my college
degree to hopefully open up a homeless shelter in the United States.
Any amount of money awarded to me would not only benefit my family,
and me but it would also benefit my future when working with the
homeless population. The more money I have in pocket after graduating
college, the more I can financially put into a homeless shelter, and
the faster I can pay off my student debt. Our organization spent
countless hours and days preparing for our trip across the United
Sates. I would estimate that I spent around 5 hours per week from
September to March (not including winter break) preparing for our
departure to Detroit. I hope that in ten, twenty, or even thirty
years, I will be either working for a homeless shelter, or opening up
my own shelter. I believe that any way I can help serve my own
community or any community is making a huge difference in our world
today. Even if I have fed one homeless child when he/she is hungry, I
have made a difference.


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