Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Paying It Forward

Name: Brittany Lara
From: South Elgin, IL
Grade: 12th
School: South Elgin High School
Votes: 0

Paying It Forward

Throughout my high school career I have been a part of an organization known as
‘Students Today Leaders Forever’. The mission of this
organization is to
leadership through service, relationships, and action. The type of
service we perform as part of this organization is anything and
everything you can think of. As a group we’ve traveled the country
on what’s called a ‘Pay It Forward’ tour, performing community
service to whoever needs it while living on a coach bus and sleeping
in various churches and community centers. I was lead to be a part of
the organization by students at my high school who told me to give it
a shot and after one Pay It Forward tour I was hooked on not only the
organization but the feeling you get when you know you’ve just
changed someone’s life. As well as STLF, I also volunteer in my own
local community as part of many Nation Honors Society projects and
events. As well as with a youth cheer team as a junior coach to first
and second graders.

Over the course of the 2015-2016 school year I have put in over 100 hours
of service between both organizations and the practice time with the
cheerleading team. As a volunteer in STLF my responsibilities
included whatever job we were assigned that day as well as in NHS.
With the cheerleading team my responsibilities included creating a
two minute and thirty second routine as well as teaching and
acknowledging new skills each needed or possessed.

Some of the biggest challenges I have faced as a volunteer is knowing
whether or not my instincts are correct or not. Especially during
cheerleading because I know the kids really looked up to me and
expected me to know the right way about things. At the same time I
believe that was the most rewarding experience, to know that what
you’re doing, in all three cases, is affected someone in some way.
It’s rewarding to know that what you are doing is having a positive
effect. From all three volunteer positions I have learned that people
everywhere are in need of help. Even if it’s help with something
that seems so simple and so unimportant to the impact you want to
make on the world, it makes a huge impact on their world and changing
one person’s world is one step closer to changing to whole world.

My career of choice is Pharmacy. The medical field is such a direct
field for giving back and that’s why I’ve chosen it. A lot of
people see looking forward as looking forward into ten years but
really it could mean just the next day. In my activities I believe
such an impact has already been made that I’ve already helped
someone ‘looking forward’. If I were to come back in ten years
I’m sure some many more worlds will have been helped because these
organizations promote the continuous cycle of giving back.

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