Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – The Dance of Volunteering

Name: Jolyna Chiangong
From: Southfield, Michigan
Grade: 11
School: University High School Academy
Votes: 1

I grew up in the heart of Highland Park, MI where the chances of becoming a victim of
either violent or property crime are one in thirteen. When I moved
from Highland Park, I was still young but I never forgot the children
of the city .Every Sunday I attended Highland Park Presbyterian
Church and there I started a praise dance team. It was composed of
girls from all walks of life. Some from Highland Park, others from
the suburbs. Dance interested several of the girls but they lacked
the means to participate. I not only wanted to engage them in an
appealing activity but provide a positive impact as well.


However, one distinctive challenge I faced was that dance in my
church was relatively new and I lacked much hands on support. I was
the one who not only had to select music but choreograph, teach, and
ensure that the girls looked great on performance days– four hours a
week. At times I felt overwhelmed but I remembered the smiles of the
girls as they danced. I remembered how this team kept some of my
dancers off of the streets or from remaining idle. We were more than
just a team, we were family. As I choreographed and the girls
practiced, together we learned the qualities of hard work,
commitment, and perseverance. Through this team I learned more about
myself than I would have elsewhere. Working with my dancers has truly
strengthened and shaped me as a leader. I learned to make due with
all that I have and not allow one missing piece of the puzzle to
destroy the entire picture.

More so, my actions mimic “forward looking” which is acting based on the
bigger picture. I’m looking towards creating an aura of positivity
in youth that may inspire them to bypass any negativity encountered
in their communities and look to a brighter future. As the years
progress, I believe that my current dancers will carry the torch to
inspire and motivate a new bunch of children in dance to achieve
greatness as well.

Continually, through this experience the team has received more recognition. I
truly appreciate this but the recognition isn’t what motivates me.
Though it may seem extremely cliche, the smiles of the girls during
practice is what warms my heart. Knowing that they’re happy and
that I’ve created a positive impact on their lives brings happiness
to my soul. I yearn to become a pediatrician in poverty areas of
Spanish speaking countries. By working with my dance team, I’ve
learned more about children and how to better tend to them. I’m all
about impacts and as a doctor I want to have a positive impact on
disadvantaged children. Children are like flowers. They’re soft and
delicate and bloom with proper nurture. I want to be the water that
helps them grow to reach their highest potential; and I love being
able to motivate and inspire them as much as they inspire me.


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