Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Making a difference

Name: Nicholas Clifton
From: Antioch , IL
Grade: 11th (Junior)
School: Antioch Community High School
Votes: 0

Youth
Forward Scholarship

By
Nicholas Clifton


I have been volunteering 6 hours a month since November at a local
senior living facility in my community. At first I really wasn’t
sure I wanted to volunteer at a senior living facility but I was
encouraged to give it a try. After I started doing this for a few
weeks, I realized how happy I made the elderly folks every time I
showed up. I spent my time talking with them, playing games, making
crafts with them, taking them to church and helping them decorate for
the holidays. Every time I came they had smiles on their faces, knew
me by name, and would fight for my time. When I would leave they
always ask when I will be back. With school, sports and a part-time
job it is difficult to find time, but I quickly learned what a
difference I was making to someone by spending just a few hours a
week with them so I made it a weekly Sunday ritual. You don’t
think about getting old, especially when you are young, but it’s a
reality. Everyone is going to get old one day and it is
heartbreaking to see these people sit there with nothing to do and
not have anyone that comes to visit them regularly. While I’m not
picking up trash to keep the world clean or giving a donation to feed
the needy, I am doing something that is very important and rewarding.
Taking time to sit and talk with seniors who have experiences to
share and just want someone to talk to. Watching as their faces
light up when they tell you about their families. Making sure they
get safely back and forth to church by pushing their wheelchair and
helping them into their seats. Simply giving them a hug makes them
feel important and special during their final years. Knowing that I
am helping others by simply
listening and sharing stories is therapeutic. Volunteering at the
senior living facility has given me the opportunity to discover just
how fulfilling it is to work with the senior population. I has
allowed me to build relationships with the residents and staff and
helped me strengthen my communication and interpersonal skills. It
has also open my horizons to a career I might be interested in
pursuing.


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