Name: Linnette Chavez
From: Van Nuys, California
School: Northridge Academy High School
I grew up in a family where money was scarce. I remember accompanying
my mother to food banks for necessities such as food and clothes.
Witnessing people helping others made me want to help the needy.
Those selfless people experienced a feeling that I wanted to feel. I
realized I had experienced my first epiphany. At that moment, I had
developed a sense of giving back where it shaped me into a better
person being ambitious, optimistic, and diligent.
On the day I went back to that same food bank to help with the food
drive, at first I felt uncomfortable. But when I began distributing
the canned foods, bread, and milk, I felt rather fulfilled, as if I
was spending time in the park with my family. A little girl about six
years old smiled at me, her face glowing and brightening the room.
When I went home, I was radiating with the satisfaction that comes
from reaching out to others in need.
At school, I began helping teachers organize their cabinets and grade
papers with the intention of lightening their load so they would be
able to go home earlier to their families. I learned to appreciate
the effort they put into their students’ education. I dedicated my
time to California Scholarship Federation, a community
service-oriented club, and I organized a Peer Mentoring Club my
junior year where we tutor and help high school freshman improve
failing grades. In addition, I volunteer at the local library; I
gained social skills, speaking skills, and communication skills
through talking to people, answering phone calls, and communicating
with visitors. I learned how to manage my time and have a positive
attitude. I learned the meaning of commitment and dedication, values
I hold very high.
The more I dedicated my time helping others, the more volunteering I
did, the more it became a part of me. To me, it’s not about using up
time, but a feeling, a life lesson, or even numerous life lessons, in
itself, like concepts learned only through hands-on experience. I get
satisfaction by helping those who may not otherwise receive help, I
enjoy seeing people from all different backgrounds, smile with
appreciation and gratitude. I developed a sensitivity to others that
is only gained through giving back to the community. These
experiences have made my life richer and added more meaning to my
life. Giving back has transformed me into a more open-minded and
compassionate person with a bigger heart and a willingness to go the
extra mile for others. In university, I plan to major in
International Business. I know that this career involves
communication and social skills, which I have already honed through
activities I done in and out of school. I plan to continue to help
others while I’m attending university.