Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Importance of Volunteering

Name: Parker Shayne Strong
From: Durham, NH
Grade: 12
School: Oyster River High School
Votes: 0

Throughout high school I have committed myself to helping others. My commitment
to volunteerism includes mission work in Costa Rica, reading to
elementary school students in a “Read Across America” program,
helping run events, National Honor Society activities, and tutoring.

My pilgrimage to Costa Rica allowed me to work with people in a
different culture and under different living conditions. I bridged
language and cultural barriers to help improve the living conditions
of families by repairing houses and schools. I learned first hand how
a combined effort has a huge impact on individuals and community.

During high school, I have had many different opportunities to volunteer at
events such as the School’s Open House, youth basketball clinics,
the Special Olympics Torch Run, A Sense of Place Conference (teacher
conference which promotes the use of nature in early childhood
development education), and being a course marshal for Todd’s Trot,
a 5K run in memory of one of our teachers. Helping an event run
smoothly gives me a lot of satisfaction, especially because many of
these events are geared towards helping others. One of the main
reasons I volunteer for these larger events is because I know I can
make a difference and I feel I have a moral obligation to help. At
times volunteering isn’t always fun—it sometimes takes time away
from things I’d rather do with my friends—but the sense of
accomplishment I feel greatly outweighs any negatives.

Of all my volunteer activities, what I enjoy most and find most
rewarding is helping specific individuals. Over the past 3 years, I
have accumulated countless hours tutoring. While tutoring is part of
the National Honor Society’s requirements, the main reason I tutor
is to make a difference in someone’s life. When working with
individuals, I can actually see how what I do and say can change the
other person. For example, I’ve tutored various students at my high
school the past two years and it is amazing and exciting to see how
the little bit of help I offer affects the students. Quite often
kids who need help only need guidance in the right direction, and I
love to see the help I give actually works and improves another
student’s grades and their understanding of the material.

Since the beginning of high school I’ve accumulated well over 300 hours
of community service, tutoring, and volunteering while maintain high
honors and playing varsity basketball. Not only have I had the
privilege of helping others grow, I believe these experiences have
improved myself. This cyclical and concentric growth is why
volunteering has become such a large part of my life.

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