Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Bringing smile to Peoples faces

Name: Erika Faulkner
From: Lancster, Pennsylvania
Grade: 12
School: Lancaster Country Day School
Votes: 0

One of the most important things to me is volunteer work. Over the summer I work
at a camp with 3-6 year olds, and I work with the Longs Park
Amphitheater foundation, a nonprofit which holds free concerts every
Sunday during summer. I have been volunteering at the summer camp
since I was 11, I work about 5 hours a day, for three weeks. I cannot
pinpoint how many hours a week I spend volunteering at the concerts,
because it really depends on the week. Sometimes I only work 5 hours
on Sunday. Other weeks I work in the office on data entry, once a
year I help clean out the storage barn. On the Sunday after the
fourth of July I spend over 14 hours at the park. The biggest concert
of the year is on that day, and everyone shows up at 8 am to start
setting up, and we don’t leave until 11pm or midnight. At the
summer camp I help the younger kids out and make sure they are not
feeling overwhelmed with the new environment. Now that I am older, I
am in charge set up snack and craft time, and help watch the kids
when they are on the playground. When volunteering at the
Amphitheatre, I am in charge of showing people in the handicapped
section where to park. I also collect donations, and help count them
each night. After both those jobs are done I work at the information
booth, answering any questions someone might have. Sometimes I find
it difficult when I work at the information booth; some people can be
very unkind when they talk to you. When people are unkind I find it
difficult to continue being kind myself, however I work past this and
try to be as helpful as possible.

The one thing that makes volunteering at both places so worth it is seeing
everyone’s smiles. I love seeing how bright the children’s faces
get while playing outside. I also love seeing everyone’s smiling
faces during the concert. But by far the most rewarding thing with
working at the amphitheater is seeing how the community comes
together; we often get over 7,000 people at a concert. During this
time you can really see the community bond. Everyone, regardless of
age, comes to enjoy the music. Once I saw a seventy year old woman
dancing in a circle with some college kids, the students where
teaching her a dance. At that moment I realized why I loved
volunteering so much, because I was a small part in bring together
two different groups of people, and knitting my community closer.

I hope that while I am at college I get to continue volunteering. The
college I will be attending, Dickinson College, seems to have a bunch
of volunteer opportunity. That is one of the main reasons why I was
drawn to Dickinson, because of how many clubs that I can join to help
give back to my community.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".