Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – I Had No Idea

Name: Kaitlyn Fox
From: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Grade: 12th
School: Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State
Votes: 119

Whenever the word ‘volunteering’ comes to mind, I refer back to John D.
Rockefeller’s quote, “Think of giving not as a duty, but as a
privilege.” Ever since I was in elementary school, volunteering has
been huge in my life. There is not a week that goes by that I am not
volunteering. I believe the most important part, though, is
volunteering not for the glory, but for the grateful smiles you
receive in return.

Two days a week, two hours a day, I am a volunteer tutor at the community
college. Also, I have volunteered the past two summers at the local
hospital as a VolunTEEN, which was three days a week, four hours a
day. I chose these two areas for different reasons than other
volunteers. Most I worked with volunteered only for a type of job
shadowing. I, however, volunteered because I wanted to connect with
the people of my community. I believe working for free makes the
individual you are helping feel cared about, leading to that person
achieving better results.

Through tutoring at Chattanooga State, I have learned to exert myself beyond
my introverted limitations. This was due to tutoring different people
with different personalities and personal problems. I am majoring in
Social Work. Therefore, this volunteer work has prepared me for that
particular field. Having to start conversations myself has not only
increased my confidence but also my outlook on others. I feel more
compassionate now than I used to be.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of volunteering is the fact that I learned
about struggles others go through. Volunteering at the hospital, I
put away kids’ charts in the Pediatric Neurology. I heard stories
that opened my eyes to what kids in my community really go through
daily. I remember one day, I was informed that a child had been born
without a brain. I did not know that was possible, but because of
that, I am so much more grateful for life, both my own life and
others’ lives.

I have been involved in many smaller volunteer projects. One I created
myself I called “Smiles for Soldiers” where I sent care packages
to deployed soldiers. This was my favorite project of all because of
the relationships I made with the troop. I learned just how big of a
difference I could make. The SGT of this troop came across a soldier
of another in Afghanistan, and he saw my picture. This was so amazing
to me that two soldiers of two different US troops knew me, not
because I was a celebrity, but because I decided to write cards and
send packages. Even if twenty years pass, I think those same soldiers
will remember me. We have kept contact for the last 6 years, and I
expect it to continue. Lastly, one of my favorite quotes by Rachel
Scott is, “You never know how far a little kindness can go”
because she was exactly right. I had no idea.

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