Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Living Life Happily

Name: Leeza AnnMarie Yorke
From: Bloomington, Indiana
Grade: Undergraduate/ Freshman
School: Indiana University of Bloomington
Votes: 2

Living Life Happily

Starting from a young age my parents have instilled in me the
importance of giving back to my community, whether it be of small or
large involvement. On a spiritual level, I have learned throughout
volunteer work that it is not my time to give, it is simply God’s.
He send us out into the world to be a mentor towards others. To find
people who are mentally, physically and spiritually struggling and
help them. Otherwise, known as healing the weak. I volunteer simply
due to the understanding of the word “community.” We are a body
that together needs guidance, direction and a little support.
Regardless of background, upbringing and morals, we all need
guidance, love and encouragement. This is simply what makes up a
community an all that should be oozing from it. In High School I
volunteered to help a school in Santa Ana, which helped
underprivileged kids succeed in English, Math and other basic skills.
I assisted them for two months on average about 5 hours a week. I can
still remember the smile on their faces when one would get a math
question right. Or when one could spell a word correctly, they were
overjoyed. That experience has taught me to smile more and to review
some of my basic math skills. Not proud of it, but I’m sure I lead
them astray a couple times. I always walked into the school with a
huge grin on my face, knowing that I would leave with an even bigger
one. My most recent volunteer work has affiliation with the church
that I attend in Ontario, California. Every Saturday myself,
including my father, wake up at 6 am to be at our church at 7am, to
feed the homeless in the downtown area of Ontario. Both of us
including a few members of our church set off at 7:10 am to reach out
to our community. This volunteer experience has been the most
rewarding for me. I have grown spiritually and mentally due to this
saddening reality. The first time I ever went to feed the homeless, I
noticed almost immediately how grateful many, if not all, were. I
found it funny how so many people who have such heavy burdens and
complications, can smile the brightest. When most people in our
society who have choices and options are sad because they want a
better option. I have absolutely learned to respect what I have and
give up items that would have a better use with someone who truly
needs it. When I handed a man a bag of food, I asked him why he
smiles so intently. His exact words were as follows, “I smile
because I am still alive, and I now have food in my hands.” The
power in his words were a dagger to my heart. This man simply was
happy because of his existence. In that moment I felt ashamed of my
actions and my outlook in life. Now as a freshman In college, I am
learning to get rid of my selfish ways and trying to live life
happily, while giving back to my community.

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