Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – My involvement in and contributions to a community

Name: Shenell crooks
From: stone mountain, Georgia
Grade: 12th
Votes: 2

Late 2012 to 2013 when my mother became unemployed and homeless, I
volunteered for my first church community outreach project with the
Seventh Day Adventist Organization Feeding the Hungry and Homeless.
Quiet often I had always heard about people volunteering with this
organization but had no idea what it was really about. This is a
church with a commitment to help and improve the welfare of the less
fortunate. It is through volunteering here that I was able to get a
first-hand perspective of the seriousness of the homeless population
in my city, Lithonia Georgia.

As I travelled to the facility I was truly shocked and amazed to see people just like me, some even
attending my current high school, waiting in line for hot meal
clothing. In the queue I saw all kinds of people, families,
individuals, and couples, To my surprise just a few were homeless,
many were unemployed, and needed a meal this was due to the economic
situation our country was facing and still is facing, After my first
thirty minutes of lifting boxes of canned food and seeing the relief
on the faces of young children I was no longer ashamed, I knew then
my family was not alone. A few of the families did not even have a
bed or even a family although my situation is similar I knew this
experience would be a constant reminder that there are families in
worse situation.

After my amazement wore off, I demonstrated my work ethic by rolling up my sleeves and getting to work with speed and accuracy to accommodate the growing crowd. Because I am aware of
what it feels like to be in this same place, I wanted to make sure
that every person I came into contact with feel like there was
someone who truly cared about them even it was for an hour. I put on
my work clothing and jumped right in helping to prepare and serve
meals as well as issue out donated clothing. In this moment, my own
pain, struggles and need were forgotten. What was most important was
making sure everyone was fed. This experience has changed my entire
life. I am appreciative of what I have, especially family. It’s
been about a year and half and I am always looking to give back in
whatever way I can I always find myself looking forward to
volunteering or simply just helping anyone I meet as you never know
what an individual is going through.

Volunteering has allowed me to invest in my community and my future by taking initiative in my
school, church or any organization where there is a need. It has
become the core of my life to help the needy even when my own
struggles seem endless. It helps to put my goals into prospective, it
encourages me; it allows me to focus, it makes me more open to live
without judgment to always seek hope and to simply enjoy the rewards
of kindness.

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