Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Making Wishes Come True

Name: Corey Nguyen
From: Huntington Beach, California
School: Fountain Valley High School
Votes: 8

“The Make-A-Wish foundation grants the wishes of children with life threatening
medical conditions to enrich the human spirit with HOPE, STRENGTH,
and JOY!” As a board member for my high school’s Make-A-Wish
club, I chant these words at every single one of our meetings with
enthusiasm and pride. I can’t help it; I love this club and what we
do. As a board member, my responsibilities include not only
volunteering at events such as ocean clean ups or soup kitchen
drives, but planning those volunteer events as well as fundraisers
and socials for our club. So far, during this year, I personally have
contributed 160 volunteer hours to the club. That might seem like a
lot. But to me, it feels like nothing because of the incredible work
we are doing for kids in need. To know that the work I am putting in
helps a struggling child have hope for their future again is an
incredible feeling and one that constantly pushes me to do more and

But that work hasn’t been easy. This year is our club’s tenth anniversary, and
we wanted to do something special : grant two Wishes in one year. Our
usual goal of one Wish a year costs around $5,000 which means two
Wishes involves raising $10,000. Due to that ambitious goal, we’ve
all had to throw in overtime. I can remember personally volunteering
12 hours a day for a week straight. The toughest thing about this
goal is that it requires everything of me. All of my physical
strength, mental ability, and emotional backbone. It is draining.
Almost exhausting. But it pales in comparison to some of the
treatment options these kids have to go through for diseases like
melanoma or ALS. Last year, we granted a child named Mia’s wish.
Her wish was to go to Hawaii and “be like Lilo and Stitch.” The
idea of Mia laughing while splashing in the cool Maui waves on a
smooth, warm beach surrounded by palm trees; away from all the cold
tubes, inquisitive doctors, and painful shots, keeps me going.

But not everything allows me to contribute how I want. My parents don’t approve of my
dedication to Make-A-Wish. They say it won’t open up any career
opportunities or paths to financial success. But being a Make-A-Wish
board member has taught me that human beings require more than
material gain. I understand my parents are correct, and I’m
probably losing out on potential work hours with how committed I am.
However, while it’s true that the money might appeal to my head,
Make-A-Wish beckons to my soul. It just feels right. To work
hard. To help those in need. To sacrifice for those put in a worse
situation than me. The hope I help create fills a void in my heart
that no amount of money could supplant. Nevertheless, I am still
getting paid. But instead of the minimum wage, I receive the
satisfaction that I’m making the world a better place.

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