Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – Changing the World, One Smile at a Time

Name: Samuel Davis Shrewsbury
From: Jacksonville, Florida
Grade: 11
School: Providence Extension Program
Votes: 5

Every
summer I volunteer at St. Vincent’s Memorial Hospital through a
unique program that allows high school students to experience a bit
of the world that nurses and doctors live in. I chose to volunteer at
St. Vincent’s primarily because I needed the hours and had an
interest in pursuing medicine in college, but after fulfilling my
required hours in my first two summers, I found myself being drawn
back because of the passion I grew for loving the people there. For
four summers I have volunteered typically ten hours a week over the
entire summer. Over the course of this time, I was responsible for
completing seemingly menial tasks such as restocking linen closets
and bringing water around to patients, and although it was a struggle
at first to step out of my comfort zone and have conversations with
complete strangers, after the first few weeks I couldn’t get enough
of it.

So
often, bummed out patients seeing a teenager devoting his/her time to
servicing them and bringing a smile to their face would do just that,
and like they say, laughter is the best medicine. That is probably
what stuck out to me the most from my time at the hospital, that just
a friendly face and an open heart can change someone’s day. I
cannot count how many times patients would thank me for giving my
time to help them and although volunteering should never have selfish
motives, the pleasure and that warm feeling that I got from it was
more than enough to bring me back each summer.


I
feel that some my actions at the hospital those summers gave some
people the spark that helped push them out of the depression that
comes from sickness and maybe taught them to do the same to others.
If the people that I talked to in my time there learned to bring a
friendly face and a smile to every conversation they have then I
can’t help but feel that the world will be a better place. Looking
forward, if every one of the people I talked to brightened someone’s
day, and that person in turn did the same, overtime the whole world
would be furnishing a brand new smile. Although I may not have been
helping too much physically, I hope my time and my persona at the
hospital will spark a revival of friendliness and friendship around
the world, although that may be reaching a little bit. I know that if
I looked back in twenty years at the work I did at the hospital, that
I would be proud of the time I took, and that even if it only
resulted in one smile, that it would all be worth it.


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