Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Making A Positive Impact by Paying it Forward

Name: Matthew Dale Boren
From: Platte City, Missouri
Grade: 12
School: Platte County High School
Votes: 0

Thank you for your review of my essay, and for your consideration of me as
a candidate for this scholarship.

A cousin inspired me to investigate the Muscular Dystrophy Association
Camp volunteer options. I have recorded in excess of 1000 hours of
community volunteering, including 504 hours as a Muscular Dystrophy
Camp Counselor. Counselors are solely responsible for their camper’s
safety, hygiene, emotional well-being, nutrition, and camp activities
twenty four hours per day. Last year, I was paired with a camper who
presented a challenge as he was severely disabled.  Sam has
spinal muscular atrophy, which means he lacks the strength to move
his own body.   My care of Sam consisted of activities that
continued through the night.  I rolled and adjusted him
frequently (so he did not get bed sores), and helped him with his
physical needs and emotional requirements. These campers have every
reason to give up on themselves, but they don’t. I learned that for
one very special week each year, these kids get to feel normal.
Throughout their lives they are pitied, when all they want is
to be like everyone else. One camper told me that his week at camp
was better than Christmas. Campers’ stories of struggles outside of
camp inspired me to pursue a profession that could help better their

The educational benefits of my volunteering experiences directly affected
my life plan.  I intend to continue to mentor young people,
participate in the Muscular Dystrophy Association camp, and to pass
on my leadership skills to others. I am eager to utilize my natural
ability to creatively think of unique solutions, coupled with my
education and experience in engineering, to directly affect mobility
options for the community affected with muscular dystrophy.

The definition of forward looking to me, is to have a believable plan
that will successfully satisfy many short term goals with a specific
purpose of achieving a set of long term goals. While I have goals of
magnitude, at a minimum I would feel that I changed the world for the
better if I could successfully teach a teacher to teach what I have
learned and developed. I would hope that 2-3 decades from now I would
see fruits of my efforts in more available and affordable high tech
and mechanical devices for those with muscular dystrophy, and/or a
possible cure for those affected.

I see my volunteer service as a direct influence on my educational and
professional goals. My greatest satisfaction is feeling the joy in
the hearts of kids at MDA camp, and knowing that I did make a
difference. I have learned that with minimal effort that one person
can make a difference of significance in the life of another.

I have been accepted to the University of Nebraska Honors College to
study Biological Systems Engineering, with emphasis on BioMedical
Systems & Robotics. I intend to continue to mentor young people,
participate in the MDA camp, and to pass on my leadership skills to

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".