Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Changing the Youth

Name: Valentina Salamanca
From: Doral, Florida
Grade: 12th grade
School: Divine Savior Academy
Votes: 11

Imagine living in a place where a majority of people are consumed by
technology, popularity, money, work, and vanity. People are trapped
in a bubble, and everything outside of that bubble seems to be
irrelevant. I was in that situation not long ago. However, my mindset
changed once I started leading a youth group of teenage girls.
Through this experience, I have learned to put others before myself.
Instead of wasting time on social media, I dedicate at least two
hours a week to these girls. I listen to any problems they may have
and together we try to find solutions.

Throughout this whole process, I have noticed that youth of all ages are broken.
Adults are engrossed in their own lives, and teenagers are often left
to pave their own path. Teens seem to wander in search of answers in
the middle of all the chaos. Many people crave attention and want a
place that provides a sense of belonging. That is why today
s
young people dabble with drugs, alcohol, and sex, and these
distractions never fill the abyss of emptiness in their hearts.

Many of the girls I mentor put cold fronts and try to resist receiving
help. However, once I surpass their cold fronts I see the potential
within each of the girls. Seeing them flourish is one of the most
satisfying feelings in the worlds.
I know
that when I reflect on my volunteer work twenty years from now, I
will feel a sense of pride and joy because many of these girls were
headed towards the wrong path. Now many of them are starting to focus
their energy on volunteer work and helping others. The youth group I
mentor has helped me discover a new perspective in my own life.This
has helped me realize that as human beings we should learn to put
others before ourselves. I want people to begin to view the world in
this way as well.

All of this has led me to make the decision of pursuing a major in
political science, and ultimately a degree in law. I plan on focusing
in the legislative aspect and how laws impact people
s
lives. There should be an emphasis on social services being provided
in our educational system. This network of child support is the
foundation in determining a child
s
future success and well-being. Studies have proven that when children
receive negative attention, or none at all, from family and teachers,
this can result in the need to find support in the wrong places. The
success of our country
s youth is what is
important since they are the ones who will govern this country one
day. Change starts with one person and one dream. I still have a long
way to go, but I aim to be that individual.


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