Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Voicing Volunteerism

Name: Ashley Gonzalez
From: merced, California
Grade: junior
School: buhach colony high school
Votes: 0

  1. Gonzalez

I am currently involved in two clubs, Interact Rotary and Community
Counts, both ran by high school students whom are in charge of
creating meetings to inform members of community service
opportunities among many other things. Through both of these clubs I
have had the opportunities to; help collect cans/food to later pack
in boxes for families in need in the community during the holidays;
participating in Merced Art Hop, their mission being “To
enhance the health and quality of life in the community of Merced and
Central California, through the art and artists which live among
us.”; participate in a variety of different “Kid Days”, to help
encourage kids at a young age to dream on and that anything is
possible if they keep on working; volunteer in health fairs and
festivals available to the public; and attend different young
leadership conferences.

From the above list of different projects and events, you can probably
tell that I, as well as the club don’t tend to have one focus. In
fact we tend to help and serve the community as a whole. My favorite
project has to be our daily fruit and milk collection. You may or may
not realize this, but here in America many kids don’t eat their
fruits, vegetables, and milk. Since the laws state that students in
public schools have to get the fruit and milk anyways if they want
the main entree, they too often take the fruits/vegetables and milk
and just throw them away. As a club, Community Counts came together
and set out buckets for these fruits and milk being thrown away. At
the end of break and lunch we collect them and store them in a
classroom, until at the end of the week they are picked up and
donated to our city food bank, then distributed to homeless shelters
in the area.

For myself it really isn’t about getting hours and keeping up with
them, so I don’t exactly know how many hours I have volunteered,
but I would have to guess about three-hundred hours in the course of
about less than three years.

I love the feeling of knowing that I made a difference in someone’s
day. I will never forget the time when I volunteered for Love
Atwater. a community volunteer day for our city, when I a young man
of the age of about twenty-five came up to our area. I was put in
charge of giving homeless people in our city, bags of food I asked
him if he would like a bag. He looked at me straight in the eyes and
said “Thank you, thank you for being the person you are and not
forgetting about people like us.

My biggest challenge in volunteering has been being able to balance
school and volunteering. My parents support my decision of
volunteering as a lifestyle, but think that I shouldn’t always put
volunteering in front of my education. In the future I would like to
hopefully inspire others to volunteer and change some of the negative
ways of our country.

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