Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Volunteering For Fun

Name: Cecilia Carone Canizela
From: Gilman , Illinois
Grade: High School Senior
School: Iroquois West High School
Votes: 0

Carone Canizela

For Fun

An opportunity to volunteer was introduced to me when a local church
decided to open up to elementary students who do not have an adult to
go home to. They asked students if we could watch the children after
school and and I was one of the high school volunteers who decided to
donate their time to help. I spent seven hours each month
volunteering my time to this organization, but I would’ve
volunteered more of my time if I had the chance to.

I headed to the church after school and lead the children through
prayer and assisted them with homework. I watched over a number of
kids and did activities of which involved playing bells, making
crafts, reading, watching movies, doing homework, and coloring. On
nice days, we went to the park and played outside. Some of the first
graders that I had the pleasure of working with had mental
disabilities, and those were the children who required extra
attention. Many of those kids did not exactly understand the
activities and rules they had to follow. I learned from those
challenges and now I know exactly how to deal with those situations.
I now work in other service project with some kids who have
disabilities. I was able to successfully interact with those kids
because of the skills I learned at FAST. It takes a lot of patience
and understanding, but the smile of the children’s faces is the
biggest reward.

This opportunity enabled me to grow closer to the kids and make a
difference in their days. By dinner time, many children were begging
me to have dinner with them! The kids were affected directly, but so
was I. Volunteering gave me assurance that I want to work with kids
in my future, and while I taught the kids the skills I know, they
reminded me of the things about my childhood I had forgotten about.
They taught me how to better appreciate what I’ve and to always
smile. Even though it greatly benefited those who the activities were
meant for, I can say that it benefited the volunteers the most.  

I’m sad to say that Fun After School Together came to an end due to lack
of adult volunteers. It’s frustrating that an activity that makes
an influence in the community didn’t succeed. Yet, I talked to the
organizer of FAST and we’re trying to find arrangements for it to
restart or for an alternative activity to be created. I can’t wait
for FAST to be restarted because it’s a way for the community to be
connected and strengthened. Looking towards the future, I see all of
the children I helped being leaders in their grade. It’s an
accomplishing feeling knowing that my service has benefited my
community. I look forward to this organization restarting and there’s
no doubt in my mind that when I come back to visit my community, I’ll
definitely see the impact of my service in the individual children I
worked with.

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