Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Everyone has a story!

Name: Amani Fields
From: Hapeville, GA
Grade: High School Senior
School: Hapeville Charter High School
Votes: 0


by Amani Fields

has a story!

Lodged in my heart is the importance of giving back to the community
to leave a lasting impact, strengthen relationships, share
experiences and to heal emotional scares. There have been several
relationships in my life that have meant a lot to me but none more
vital than my bond with my mother. At the age of seven years old, I
watched my mother care for my grandmother who was dying from uterus
cancer. My mother took her to doctor appointments, stayed by her
side at the hospital, and nursed my grandmother a brief time in our
home, changing gauzes due to surgery complications. Throughout the
entire process, I never saw my mother cry, worry or stress. She
remained strong even when the time came to make funeral arrangements.
I, on the other hand, was in complete disbelief at the loss of my
best friend, thus drawing me even closer to my mom.

Gone were the weekends at nana’s, shopping excursions and homemade
gingerbread houses at Christmas time. My heart ached but knowing my
mom was there soothed the pain. Longing for something or someone to
fill that void, my mother recommended I volunteer with Smile
Bandages, a non-profit organization that visits nursing homes to
bring them encouragement, entertainment and love. I first started
off as a dancer then elevated to the photographer/videographer and
now that I’ve relocated from New Jersey to Georgia, I manage their
website to remain involved. At first, I was so scared of the nursing
home residents but as I grew and matured, I learned to appreciate the
work we did. I began to enjoy making the residents feel acknowledged,
wanted, loved, and visible; as some often felt tossed aside by
family. Because of my work with Smile Bandages, obtaining my college
degree has become even more important to me.

My college education will not only allow me to provide for my mom as
she ages but also allow me to fulfill my dream of making movies that
capture the essence of life to inspire and give hope to people of all
ages. At the nursing home, the residents loved seeing themselves on
video and would laugh at the random pictures I would take of them. It
brightened up their day and also told a story that their journey is
not over.

From a very young age storytelling interested me and not just the
writing of fictional characters having crazy sword fights and
vampires running off with each other, but the dynamic of bringing
what I wrote to life through the art of filmmaking. At the age of ten
years old, my playground was a floor full of blank DVD’s, SD cards
and old cameras. I spent hours trying to learn how to burn my own DVD
and create my first film using Windows Movie Maker. One of the best
days of my life was when my mom brought home this thirty dollar
Samsung camcorder that I began to carry everywhere. I recorded
anything and everything around me with no intention to ever look at
it again. Now almost seven years later, after digging through bags of
junk, I find myself watching every inch of my middle school life
amused by my antics. Although I feel my many years of walking around
with a camera and variety of film projects have prepared me to take
the next step in pursuing my aspirations to become a great filmmaker,
it is my love for documentaries that have spurred my interest to go
deeper into the craft.   Unlike most people who love
scripted films, I like seeing real emotions and situations displayed
on the big screen.  I enjoy seeing people at their most
vulnerable, especially when it includes a positive turnaround.

Now that I’ve been accepted to USC School of Cinematic Arts, I
can’t wait to tell my story and the journeys of other African
American children and women. I want the world to see how we laugh,
love, live and survive through even the toughest situations. I’m
looking forward to learn more about the magic of cinematics and
making a difference in my community.

I went to Smile Bandages for my own healing and ended up making a
difference in so many lives just by volunteering 8 hours once a
month between two different nursing homes. I learned a lot over the
past 7 years and gained so much experience. It’s given me the
motivation to bridge the gap between the youth and elderly through
shared activities. I also want to give back in the form of my own
scholarship when I become successful, focused on African-American
young girls pursuing a film career. Knowing my own story and
struggle, I feel it’s important to pay it forward and ease the
burden for those who are coming behind me. After all, why have
success if you can’t be transparent to pay it forward and smooth
the pathway for the generation to come.

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