Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Reaching Out to the Forgotten

Name: Alexia Johnson
From: Forest Hills, New York
Grade: 12th grade
School: Forest Hills High School
Votes: 1

Out to the Forgotten

In the vicinity of State Road 7 and Hollywood Boulevard, Florida, roams
lost souls, shunned by society and labeled ‘lowlifes.’ While many
of these people are considered outcasts, their trials and
tribulations are often depicted in movies. I always pondered why
people were able to sympathize with fictional characters, but
ostracize individuals who are suffering in real life. Is a movie,
filled with graphic images and profanity more appealing to watch,
rather than hearing the authentic story from the lips of a survivor?


As a cashier at my aunt’s restaurant, I was able to hear the stories
of many people in the community. Many of the people that walked
through the wooden doors of the restaurant interpreted my small talk
as an invitation to share personal information. Although I was only
being friendly, many of these people yearned for someone to talk to
and I became their confidant.

Many of the men and woman that my aunt and I had the chance to truly
interact with had been victims of rape, abuse, teenage pregnancies,
and witnesses of murders. They were deprived of their childhood, and
drugs and sex became a temporary fix.  One day, I met a lady by
the name of Janice. Her mother was a heroin addict, and sold her to
the streets at the age of six. Janice was raised by a single parent,
who was unable to provide her with the basic necessities of life. Her
story touched my heart, and I felt I needed to help her out in some
way. I wanted to give her hope.  I also met a gentleman from the
community named Robert. He worked for my aunt. He shared that he,
himself, was a victim of sex trafficking and various forms of abuse
by his guardian. Like Janice’s story, Robert’s story compelled me
to reach out to my church, Hope of the World Christian Center. I
wanted to see how we could help others in the community.

After discussing the concerns I had with my pastor, I was able to organize
a group of twelve church members ranging from ages eighteen to
fifty-six to participate in a community outreach initiative. We went
out on a Sunday for approximately five hours. Our goal was to go
around the community, feed the people, and minister to them with the
hope of change.

Many lives were impacted as our group conversed with the community. We
handed out sandwiches, bottles of water, and spread the good news of
salvation within the community. Many lives were touched.  One
day during the outreach, I met a young lady by the name of Britania,
who expressed her life struggles and disappointments within the
community.  I encouraged her to stay focused by keeping the
faith and pushing forward despite her challenges and struggles. I
also expressed that doors of opportunity would open up for her, if
she continued to work hard and believed in herself.  I was glad
that I had the opportunity to meet Britania and give back to her
community. Even if Britania was the only person impacted by the
community outreach initiative, I know I made a difference.

Participating in the community outreach initiative with my church made me more
eager to become a doctor.  After seeing the faces, and hearing
the stories of the people in the community such as Britania, I am
compelled to accomplish my goal. Eventually, I will like to provide
health care, training, and counseling to children and families in
communities like Florida’s vicinity of State Road 7 and Hollywood


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