Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Joy in Serving

Name: Isabel Blackburn
From: Powder Springs, Georgia
Grade: High School Senior
School: Mount Paran Christian School
Votes: 0

The Joy of Helping Others

Since there is a growing need for help in today’s society, teenagers are being
encouraged to volunteer within their communities. I have found my
opportunity to help those in need by volunteering with an
organization called Blue Skies, a ministry that allows families that
have a child with pediatric cancer to enjoy a week at the beach for
free. This organization has allowed me to engage with those the
community and discover the gratitude that can be found by serving

Blue Skies is a week -long retreat for families experiencing the trials of pediatric
cancer. The ministry provides these families with rooms, meals, and
events throughout the week that engage all members of the family. I
chose this organization because not only pediatric cancer is a
rapidly growing occurrence, but it also is an easier and cheaper way
of serving others, rather than travelling a long distance. Throughout
the year, other volunteers and I will make and gather supplies needed
for the different retreats, while also raising funds for the
ministry. This Past year, these events included raffle ticket sales
and a yard sale, both of which helped raise enough money to fund
several weeks of these retreats. This past spring break was my fourth
time serving at a Blue Skies Retreat, and the more I get acclimated
to the pace that the volunteers are required to move at, the more
efficientIy i can work and get projects finished. Even though each
volunteer position requires the same amount of work, that work takes
many forms depending on the volunteer’s age and assigned group.
Since I was on the recreational crew this past retreat, I played a
role in the set up and tear down of most of the events and
activities. Some large responsibilities of mine included making sure
all the kids were safe and having an enjoyable time. Whether I new
the child or not, I was responsible for keeping them engaged and
safe. Personally, since I am still considered a child on the
retreats, my biggest challenge has been making some close friendships
with some of the patients, and to see some of them pass away because
of their sickness. While this is a tough situation to witness,
volunteers and families are able to provide families with a week of
happiness that they not ever experience again. I have gained the most
satisfaction by witnessing calloused individuals and their families
laugh and enjoy their time at the beach together for a week, while
playing a small role in their vacation. As a volunteer, I have
learned how truly blessed I am to have a healthy family, but I have
also learned the importance of putting others before myself and also
about the simple gratification that can come from serving others.

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