Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – It’s Not Called Volunteering Anymore..

Name: Marco Jerick Mandapat
From: American Canyon, California
Grade: Senior, 12th Grade
School: American Canyon High School
Votes: 0

I’ve wanted to help my community once I become a nurse when I am older.
Thus, I felt that helping my community at my current, premature age
was meaningless because I felt that big changes come from big people.
Being a senior in high school, I didn’t have a job or some kind of
authoritative power, so what was the point of trying to make a
difference in my community? I used to volunteer at booths in our
local Harvest Festival or at concession stands during basketball
games because I needed hours to graduate. I truly poured out my time
into things that had no meaning to me as long as I am allowed to walk
the stage at the end of the year. However, one day, my Environmental
Science teacher, Mrs. Hillyard, had brought out me and the class to
our garden. She demonstrated to us how to plant and taught us the
magnificence and necessity of mother nature. I was suddenly
fascinated with the work and science happening all at once. Since
then, I began volunteering in environmental activities. Throughout
the year, I began participating in Gardening Club and Environmental
Club. As volunteers, we planted vegetables, picked up trash on our
campus, and promoted “green” techniques to other students. The
biggest challenges approached when I took a step further and became a
member of the Napa Youth Stewardship Council. As youths, our minds
were put to the test; we had to organize, plan, and lead community
service projects in our city. I had to work with people I did not
know, and, even worse, present to volunteers who were complete
strangers. Surprisingly, I was shocked to find out that everything
flowed smoothly as if I was made to present to others. I was able to
communicate with strangers and even exchange a few laughs. I made
some friends, and I was able to meet people with different
backgrounds and unique perspectives of how to live life. The feeling
of helping the earth while getting to know wonderful people could be
the best type of feeling there is. Just knowing that different
individuals were all brought together to make the earth a little more
beautiful is extraordinary in itself. Without a doubt, cleaning up
the environment and planting will have a growing effect on my
community. Every environmental activity I’ve done held the future
in mind. Despite making one small change against pollution and
industrial expansion, I helped the earth come one step closer to
becoming cleaner starting with my community. Once I come back years
later, I can only imagine oak trees covering Alston Park, my high
school’s environmental clubs thriving from the legacy me and my
peers established, and my first activities turning into programs for
hundreds to participate in. Indeed, these activities make me love
what I do. To me, it is no longer called or seen as volunteerism
anymore– it is now called making a difference one seed at a time.

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