Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Giving Back to My Community

Name: Shawn Tillman
From: Cibolo, Texas
Votes: 70

Giving Back To My Community

My freshmen year in high school, my parents signed me up to go on a Teen
ACTS retreat with my church. I was a little apprehensive at first not
knowing what to expect, however knowing my friends and youth leaders
were also going made it better.  During this three day retreat I
had the most amazing experience learning about faith, hearing others
personal experiences, and becoming closer to God. I returned from
this retreat with a new outlook on my life. 

The following three years much to my surprise I received a call stating
God has called me to be a part of amazing experience to serve on the
Teen ACTS Retreat Team. I was so honored and excited to be asked to
volunteer to do God’s work, each time there was no question that I
would answer His call to volunteer. 

Each year for about five months I worked side by side with my Teen Team
and Youth Ministers to prepare to give other teens the same amazing
experience I had my freshman year on my retreat. 

We spent about three to four hours volunteering weekly to prepare
spiritually for the retreat as well as handling all the planning and
logistics. This included meal plans, sleep accommodations, and
activities. The activities consisted of retreat talks, presentations,
skits, music and lots of fun. My first year ever doing Team, I was on
the Community Team which had taught me how to help and understand the
different people in my community. My second year on Team I was on the
Theology team where I learned about God and was able teach the first
grader at Sunday school about God and why we go to church. This past
year I was on the Adoration Team, where we talked about the love God
has for us and his children and the difference between the love for a
significant other and the love for God. Over the three years I had a
variety of responsibilities including being a Shepard which is
basically the “hands and feet of God” is how my youth minister
described my role to me. I would run around and help the other ACTS
groups when I wasn’t doing any work with my group.  Other
responsibilities included waking up the retreatants, I was in
charging of providing the team their schedule, and serving the

My biggest challenge as a volunteer came when I returned home. It is
very challenging to maintain that sense of serving God and giving
your time when you have so many other responsibilities with school,
homework, sports, chores, and work. My mom tells me it is easy to do
the right thing when everyone is looking, but what really counts is
doing the right thing when no one is watching.

Teen ACTS has given me the most satisfaction as a volunteer because I love
the feeling of helping other people that are in the same situation
that I was once in and save them from making the same mistake that I
had once made.

By accepting the call by God to volunteer, my love for my community has
grown, I studied scripture, and I served His people. I learned to be
a better man, leader, and role model to the youth in my community. I
know I am a part of a wonderful community and I have a responsibility
to be an example to the kids in my community. I know that the kids in
the community are looking at me as a role model and they can be very
influential at the younger age. For this reason I try my best to
always be aware of my actions and do the right thing regardless of
who is looking. I want to be someone that is looked up to and be a
good leader. 

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