Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Be the Change

Name: Rebecca Lara
From: El Paso, TX
Grade: Sophomore in College
School: El Paso Community College
Votes: 0


Growing up I always pictured myself being that person that helped others. The
type of person that had no problem donating a dollar to a homeless
man on the corner of the street or feeding a stray dog. I saw myself
being someone who gave back without asking for anything in return. I
wanted to be the LeBron James in helping the less fortunate. For
future reference I still am.

Life has its rough patches, it started not being all that easy for me
after junior high. The person that I saw myself as, was fading away,
I was becoming the kid that didn’t know what to do with their life
after high school. I started becoming greedy and cruel. Greedy, for
not giving a man with no shoes money to buy a meal. Cruel, for seeing
the world as a bad place to be put in. I was rebelling and hanging
out with the wrong crowed, even my grades and attendance would show
it. I would dread visits to the counselors because I knew what they
were going to tell me, that I was failing. Until my counselor told
me, “College is a fresh start. It will be like you’re starting
over.” I like the idea of a restart button.

In all honesty, I want to be the person that gives back, but I’ve never
volunteered at a soup kitchen or a Salvation Army. I volunteer at
music festivals, where I help people find the stages they need to be
at to see an artist perform or find the restroom because Billy drank
a little too much. Being around a creative, fun, music environment is
what I enjoy. I don’t only help kids like Billy but I help kids
competing in Special Olympics’. I would like to be put behind a
kitchen counter handing out food, but being the person behind the
counter is no greater than the person helping out another way. People
feel helping the poor is different than teaching a Down syndrome how
to jump rope. There isn’t a difference, helping is helping. Well at
least for me, it was something I had learned along the way.

I might not be volunteering at a soup kitchen or Salvation Army, but I
help those around me. I am not afraid to lend a helping hand. I wish
I can be given more shift hours for events I do volunteer for, but
maximum hours I do are 5 hours. If the event is held for more than a
day I work 5 hours each of those days. Even after my shift is over I
am able to stick around.

As a volunteer that helps during events, I give out information and
assist people in finding the right place they need to be. I’ve faced
challenges in all events I have participated in, but what place
doesn’t have challenges. I’ve had people scream at me for needing
water because Billy is feeling a little dehydrated. I’ve only
recently done volunteer work, I’ve done a total of 1 year going on 2
years. Whenever I hear about events looking for volunteers I do
nothing but sign up right away. I find this becoming a habit of mine
and a habit I enjoy having. Versus having a habit of biting my nails
when I’m nervous. 

Helping in any way is a satisfaction all on its own. I’ve worked in customer
service for a couple years and when it comes to volunteering I am
able to apply what I’ve learned at past jobs. Volunteering has taught
be patience and appreciating the little joys life has to offer. I’m
very pessimistic and helping out brings out optimism that I didn’t
know existed in me. Basically, it brings out sunshine and rainbows in
my smile.

Looking into the future stresses me out. Except when I look forward to
helping those around me and an impact I can make, the future doesn’t
seem all that stressful. I once paid for a ladies meal in a
McDonald’s drive-thru and the worker at the window told me, “It
was very cool of you, I don’t see that a lot.” I must admit it
was a very ‘cool’ feeling. What I’ve learned from volunteering is
that helping out is a good thing. My “helping skills” go all
around and not only at certain places.

If I were to come back years from now, I want to believe that I made a
change. I’m a firm believer in “Monkey See, Monkey Do”, and
if I help enough, others will see and help out in a way they can. 

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