Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Value of Volunterring

Name: Ryan Fiorio
From: Gilroy, California
Grade: High School Senior
School: Christopher High/Cal PolySLO
Votes: 0

Value of Volunteering

For some, it may be hard to believe, but a
lot of good comes out of a few hours of community service. There is
much to be gained.  For me personally, it took a while to learn
this, but when I did, my life changed completely.

At my high school, every student must complete 80 hours of service and it must come from
a variety of sources. The idea is to expand your view of the world.
What I have done for my service hours has been very special to me.
Every June, I go to Mexico with my church for a week to build houses
for families in Tijuana. I started going on this trip the summer
after my freshmen year and have continued each summer since. For me,
this is the greatest experience I have ever had in my life. The faces
of the families when they see their “mansion,” as they call it,
is worth all the time, sweat, blood, and tears. I will continue to do
it in the future even though I no longer need service hours.

My responsibilities on this trip have evolved greatly over these years, which is also
very exciting. I started just as a teen doing the same labor as the
rest of the students.  This past year however, I was promoted to
co-foremen. Being a co-foremen presented its challenges, one was
constructing the gable-ends of the house. Gable-ends are the front
and back wall sections under the roof, following its angle. I
struggled greatly, but through the frustrations I kept reminding
myself of the amazing family that would soon have a home of their

In terms of future hopes, I want to see the neighborhoods we have worked in be full of
successful families, with new and loving homes. If I am able to
return in these coming years, which I absolutely hope to do, my wish
is to see many houses built like the ones here in the US, rather than
the shanty type homes these families are living in now. The change
would not only be in the actual houses, but in the lives of the

Through these trips to Mexico and other local community service, I have acquired more
than double the 80 hours required by my high school. Through all my
work, specifically the mission trip, I have grown immensely as a
person and realized the value of helping others. There is great
satisfaction in volunteering. One side benefit in my situation has
been learning about construction, which coincides with my major,
construction management. I am now the guy that helps an older
gentlemen in the parking lot with a flat tire just because I feel
good about doing it. All it takes is one good experience to
understand how much one can gain from giving your time. It is because
of my experiences that I strongly encourage everyone to find a
service opportunity they can feel good about and grow as a person.

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