Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Helping Others and Myself

Name: Lauren Trust
From: Poway, CA
Grade: 11
School: Poway High School
Votes: 36

I stumbled on volunteering to feed the homeless by choice when my
boyfriend went to get volunteer hours and I chose to tag along. We
went at least once a week, during the free summer time, for a few
weeks until he had reached the amount of hours he needed. As
volunteers we prepared, cooked, and served the food, as well as
cleaning the kitchen and dining area after the homeless had left.
This 4, sometimes 5, hour process came with a few challenges.
Sometimes customers would become angry at the portions, and I felt
guilty that I couldn’t do anything to change that. The food is all
donated and the employees are all volunteers, there is no money
available to buy anything more than what is donated.

However, there are positive moments in the shelter too. I would try my best to
complement the older women living in the shelter and the way their
face lit up as someone made them feel beautiful made my heart sing.
Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves, and where you live
should not affect that. From my volunteer position I have learned how
important volunteering is to our society. Without volunteers like my
boyfriend and I, these people would have had the opportunity to eat,
something most of us take for granted.

Although school distracted me from doing the volunteering I love,
summer and the future being bright opportunities for me to make
change. To me, “forward looking” means seeing the future as a
brighter place due to the changes you can make. In the future of my
volunteering, I hope to save the wildlife and nature that makes our
world so beautiful, help the less fortunate have a higher quality of
life, and see people of all races happy, healthy, and getting along.
If I came back in ten or twenty year I hope my volunteering has made
a difference because someone got fed that day and hopefully my small
words of positivity made someone feel cared for and special. I have
much more work to do and the feeling of gratification I get from
volunteering has got me hooked. By helping others I create a
mutual-ism in which I am also helping myself. Someone less fortunate
is getting food, but I feel like I have fulfilled my purpose.

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