Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Looking Forward to the Next Generation

Name: Lauren Pretlove
From: Reno, Nevada
Grade: High School Senior
School: Damonte Ranch High School
Votes: 79


Forward to the Next Generation

Communities rely on the kindness and generosity of volunteers. Our time is
precious—when we donate it to others, lives are changed. On an
average week, I dedicate two to four hours to serving others. From
feeding the homeless to volunteering in church nurseries, I savor
each thing I do to help my community.

Of all the areas in which I’ve chosen to volunteer, tutoring ESL
students has been my favorite. My first semester of my senior year, I
had two free periods in my schedule. During these periods, I
travelled to one of the most under-resourced elementary schools in my
city to volunteer in a kindergarten class for students learning
English as a second language. I had several obligations in this facet
of service—tutoring struggling students, translating lessons, and
overseeing general classroom activities. Being fluent in Spanish, one
of my primary responsibilities was to ensure that the Hispanic
students understood what was being taught. Since the wonderful
teacher I worked with didn’t know much Spanish, I was the bridge to
learning for several children. I came alongside a small group of
extremely English-deficient students, specifically. I met with them
individually for math practice, comprehension checks, and private

One of my biggest challenges as a tutoring volunteer was watching these
kids struggle. Not only did they have to overcome a language barrier,
many of them did not have excellent home lives. One boy would
casually talk about his parents being arrested. These moments were
heart-breaking, but they increased the joy in noticing these students
excel. Observing tangible improvements in the attitudes and skills of
these children brought me great satisfaction. Overall, volunteering
as an ESL tutor taught me that children facing real obstacles need
real support to reach their full potential.

As I look towards the future, I see the students I worked with
blossoming into joyful young men and women who will breathe life into
my community. By giving them a firm English foundation and a
determined outlook, I’ve helped equip them to be successful
students and adults. Thirty years from now, my city will revel in a
generation of intelligent and perseverant citizens. And that
generation will be able to raise up the next. Truly, there is nothing
more “forward-looking” than investing into the lives of
posterity, and that is why, in my career, I’ll strive to become a
Family and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. I want to help
parents be the best care-givers they can be, from pregnancy to
sending their babies off to change the world. Volunteering in an ESL
kindergarten class prepared me to serve kids and parents in English
and Spanish communities. Being in that setting also made me realize
how important familial health is to a child’s future. Having a
“forward-looking” attitude is hoping for a brighter future, and
fostering that same hope in others through tangible and loving
actions. For the rest of my life, I’ll keep on looking forward.

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