Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Youth Forward Scholarship

Name: Kayla Miller
From: East Amherst, New York
Grade: 12th grade
School: Williamsville North High School
Votes: 2

Forward Scholarship

Miller April 2016

“Volunteerism is increasingly important in American society.” I completely agree.
For the past few years I have been volunteering with special needs
children for the past few years. From helping them on and off the
risers in chorus to co-coaching a cheerleading team and helping out
in a special needs gym class. I chose this volunteer opportunity
because I have helped out with special needs children for as long as
I can remember. When I work with them, I get a feeling unlike any
other, it’s a type of joy that is very hard to describe.

Depending on what I’m able to do that day I would put in anywhere from two to
seven hours a week with the kids. I would co-coach a cheerleading
team, help with the special needs children in chorus, work in the gym
class, and I just added volunteering at my church. My first
interactions with special needs children was when I was in elementary
school. I met a kid named Alex, whom has special needs and he is one
of the gym classes that I help in. The responsibilities that I have
change from place to place. For example, as a coach I would help the
girls learn the routine and stunt with them. In the gym class, it is
my job to keep each kid engaged with the game or task that we are

The biggest challenge that I have faced is keeping the attention and
connecting with the kids. Each disability is unique to the child that
has it, there is no one child quite like another. So when taking care
of them and playing, you must take different approaches to each
situation. Putting a face, with a name, with a technique is very
difficult, but they seem to do it just as easy as I do. Most people
look at a special needs child as someone very different than how they
would look at someone with no disabilities. But that can sometimes be
offensive, most special needs children are just as sweet at in touch
with their reality as most children. From this I have learned that,
even on your darkest day, helping someone else can change everything.

I don’t expect to get anything physical from my volunteer work, I
have learned so much from these experiences, things that I will take
with me through the rest of my life. I hope to continue this
volunteer work throughout college and even out of college. In 10-30
years, I would hope that I have impacted these children to follow
their dreams and to never give up. To always push for what they
believe and no matter what, do not let anyone tell you that you are
something that you are not.

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