Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – More Than Just a Smile

Name: Mikayla Marshall
From: Broomfield, CO
Grade: 12th
School: Broomfield High School
Votes: 34

Than Just a Smile

When I was younger my mom and dad started volunteering with a family
shelter in downtown Kansas City. When I started to go with them I
learned one of the most important lessons, that to someone else a
simple act of smiling could brighten someone’s day. I would look
forward to going and serving with them each month, but as I got older
I started noticing how the adults treated the people I had loved
going to see as if they were no more than a stray dog. Because of
this I realized I could not only serve through a smile but I could do
so much more, and I could set an example for the rest of my
community, and this is why I chose to serve the homeless and less

Now, as a senior in high school, I have done over 500 hours of
community service in the past four years. I have not only served in
my community, but have done service around the country and for a
small city in Belize. In my community I have become involved with the
Boulder Homeless Shelter and Karen Nelson Ministries. I serve at the
Boulder Homeless Shelter once a month for 2 hours helping prepare the
food and serve it to the homeless people who come through. I serve
with Karen Nelson Ministries once a month for 4 hours and my
responsibilities include loading the van with tables, unloading and
setting up the tables on the streets of Denver, serving the homeless
food, then tearing down and packing up the van again.

My trip to Belize changed the entire course of where the rest of my
life is headed. While serving with our children’s outreach I had
the opportunity to meet a little girl that again showed the lesson
that a simple smile can brighten a person’s day. Her smile lit up
the room and she was so happy that we were there. As I got to know
her I noticed that she not only was happy, but the people in her life
were too. Her smile, and the smiles of the other kids, were the start
of a ripple effect in the community. This experience was the most
fulfilling moment of my volunteering.

While the trip to Belize was so fulfilling, leaving that community
was the hardest part of my volunteer experience. When we left it felt
like I was leaving a piece of my heart behind. This feeling has
influenced me to become a medical missionary. As I look forward into
my life I believe that what I have done in the past will influence me
to allow a huge impact on a community as I continue to serve those
who are less fortunate. I plan to continue setting an example through
the work that I do and showing that the community can change the
negative feelings towards the homeless and I hope that others will
join in the effort and continue to serve alongside me.

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