Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Time and Heart

Name: Makenna Thiel
From: Rockwall, Texas
Grade: High School Senior
School: Rockwall High School
Votes: 205

I will never forget the first time I witnessed hopelessness. I was
young and my father accepted an international assignment to Germany.
When we would travel from Munich to Prague, the towns that we passed
and the people that we saw had no hope in changing their condition.
That experience made such a profound impression upon me and shaped my
desire to volunteer and give back to those less fortunate then me. I
started volunteering in the 6th grade when I saw an
opportunity to spend time with children in special education that
needed help with social skills. I spent the next 3 years with the
kids as I truly could make a difference in their lives. When I
entered High School, my grandfather was the President of the local
Council on Aging, and told me that the elderly in our communities are
sometimes discarded and forgotten. I volunteered my summers at the
Council on Aging and witnessed severe loneliness. I learned that the
elderly had amazing life experiences and a strong desire to teach. By
talking with some of the residents, I heard stories about what life
was like witnessing the invention of the telephone, TV, the walk on
the moon, and the first hand-held calculator. They talked about
Presidents, World Wars, and living through the Great Depression. I
realized that all of these memories and stories would be lost forever
had I not spent the time with them, and it has truly changed my life.
The summer between my sophomore and junior year of High School, I
volunteered to be on a team that travelled to Moore, Oklahoma and
assisted with the cleanup immediately following an EF5 tornado, which
killed 24 people and injured 212. I have never seen such
devastation. I was on a team that completely re-roofed a school that
was destroyed. We did not know what school we were working on and
found out 3 days into the project that this was the only one in the
area that served underprivileged children in their education. When
our job was completed, the architect of the school came out and
started crying and told us that this would have taken months and the
children had no place to go. This was one of the most satisfying
moments in all of my times of volunteering. We are so blessed in
this country to have the opportunities to receive, and more
importantly to give back. All that is required of us is our time and
our hearts, and we can make a major difference in peoples lives. One
of the requirements in the selection of where I would go to college
was that I needed and wanted a University that fosters a culture and
philosophy of service and volunteerism. I have been accepted to my
first choice – Baylor University and I look forward to entering
this fall and majoring in Finance and continuing to volunteer my time
and effort to the children and the elderly.

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