Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Last Smile

Name: Jody Rutter
From: Largo, Florida
Grade: 12
School: Pinellas Park High School
Votes: 0

What matters most? Is it the length of someone’s life or the joy they experience
in it? When I first started volunteering at Suncoast Hospice I had
never thought about those questions. Perhaps this question is
irrelevant to most people, but to those who volunteer at hospice, the
answer to this question defines their attitude.

Like many people that have volunteered, I had no special motive to volunteer at
Suncoast Hospice. I just needed some volunteer hours for a
scholarship. Perhaps I wouldn’t have volunteered if the scholarship
didn’t exist. Maybe then, I would have remained in my own little
world. I did volunteer though. Through my volunteer work, I was able
to transcend the world I was living in and reach out to a warm and
supportive community. Perhaps that is why I would recommend students
to volunteer.

As a volunteer, I had a wide variety of responsibilities, however, I usually
volunteered 4 hours every week at the Suncoast Hospice Resale Shope
where I was responsible for accepting donations to Hospice. The shop
sells donations and uses the revenue to fund Hospice’s charitable
contributions. In addition to volunteering at the Suncoast Hospice
Resale Shope, I also volunteered for various hospice events such as
the AIDS Awareness Walkathon. At events, I was able to interact
directly with patients. Perhaps the biggest challenge I faced at
hospice was accepting their fate. It’s sad to see someone you know
die. At hospice, volunteers strive to make patients happy in their
final days. Perhaps that last smile is what makes volunteering at
hospice an important experience.

Forward looking means taking steps to improve the future. My activities at Suncoast
Hospice helped hospice grow larger, thereby improving Suncoast
Hospice’s ability to reach out to more people. Perhaps the greatest
change I seek to foster is a change of society’s conceptions of
life. People should realize that in the end, all that matters is the
joy somebody experiences in life, not the length of their life. That
is my answer to “What matters most?” Perhaps the legacy I left at
Suncoast Hospice will live on forever. I was able to inspire one last
smile, and that will last forever in peoples’ hearts.

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