Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Time Well Spent

Name: Carissa da Silva
From: Ashburn, Virginia
Grade: 12
School: Homeschooled
Votes: 0

Youth Forward

Scholarship Essay

Well Spent

During my freshman year of high school, I began volunteering for a couple

different ministries. These ministries offer opportunities for individuals with

disabilities that they may not normally have. I chose these specific ministries

because I am passionate about serving and assisting those with special needs. This

passion comes from being raised with Rachel, one of the most influential characters

in my life. Rachel has a mild intellectual disability and growing up with her has given

me special insight into how it is living with a disability. Volunteering requires me to

learn how to fully give my attention and energy to whomever I am buddying, which

means putting all personal desires aside. Typically, I am paired with one individual

and assist them as needed for either a couple hours, or during the summer, for a

whole week at a stay-away camp. If I sum up all my hours from camp, weekly

Sunday morning buddying, and twice a month club, I spend about a hundred and

thirty hours of my time each year volunteering. The biggest challenge I face during

my time volunteering is learning how to completely put aside all selfish thoughts

and to give my everything towards making sure my buddy is having the time of their

life and that all their needs are met. Although it has gotten easier over time to do

so, it is still something I am continuing to work on. The most satisfying feeling I

get out of volunteering is the feeling of being appreciated. I do not do it for that feeling,

but it definitely makes it easier when you can tell that your buddy truly trusts and

appreciates you. From my years of assisting various buddies with different

disabilities, the most significant thing I have learned is that being selfless is the

most important trait one can have. Putting others before yourself helps you realize what

is truly important, instead of focusing on yourself and pointless selfish desires. I am

excited to take all I’ve learned from volunteering and apply it to my future career

while I study to become a special education teacher. Looking forward, I am thrilled

to see what my studies and experiences will teach me. I hope to become as well-

rounded in all area of life, especially in how to successfully teach children with

special needs, as possible. My only hope is that the time and energy I put into my

volunteering positively affects the lives of the individuals I am assisting. I

hope to show them they are valued and that just because they are not like their typical

peers, they can do so much with their lives. If anything, I hope to give them a smile

on their face and a sense of confidence in their hearts. If I can so much as do that, I

will feel as though my time was well spent.

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