Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Youth development and how it’s helped me

Name: Halimat Shokunbi
From: Houston, Texas
Grade: 12th
School: Yes Prep West
Votes: 11

I’ve always been brought up to give back to my community. Going to YES
Prep (Youth Engaged in Service) for 7 years has had a great impact in
how I view community service and giving back to the community that’s
invested its time in me. Because I go to a school that serves grades
6-12, youth development has been my focus in community service.
Because I was the oldest child in my family, and I had no one in my
age range to look up too but being a full time student, my act of
volunteering never ends.

As they say, “With great power comes great responsibility” &
with volunteering in youth development I definitely have a lot of
responsibilities to uphold. One of my responsibilities is to, not
only be a living example for these kids to live by, but also give
them advice.

Volunteering in youth development has also challenged me because I am still
considered part of the youth myself. Before I started volunteering I

believed it when I was told that younger kids watch and follow what they see
their elders do. Realizing this before I started volunteering
required me to reevaluate the choices I make and to always think
before I act. Which I still struggle with from time to time, but the
challenges I go through, make me a better person and they give me
more of a reason to do better for these kids

When you’ve spend so much time doing a particular act, you attain a
great joy when you see change. That describes how I feel when I have
a child come to me with the biggest smile on their face letting me
know of their accomplishments. From getting an A on a unit test to
even just following directions in class are small, but big, reasons
as to why I do what I do.

I learn things all the time while I’m volunteering, but my biggest
take away is that, to be a leader there are some sacrifices that you
have to make that you may not necessarily agree. Although I want to
study political science (which seems like it has no correlations to
my area of volunteering), I plan to use my college education to come
back and teach so I am really doing what I wanted to do since high
school; make an impact in many kids lives.

With social media becoming a big part of people’s lives, I want to see
the youth of today to steer away from the big screens, to go out talk
meet new people & to see the world out there because the world
has much more to offer than iPhones.

With any type of volunteering, I think it’s a snowball effect. When you
lend a hand to the youth, you leave the impression that they should
do the same when they’re in your position. It will be an unintended
consequence that’ll be good for my community.


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