Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Youth Forward Scholarship

Name: Julianna Gonzales
From: Great Falls, Montana
Grade: 12th
School: Charles M Russell High School
Votes: 0

Julianna Gonzales ‘16 C.M.Russell High School Great Falls, MT


Youth Forward

Volunteering is such a big part of our lives in the end and even the smallest things
can make such a big impact in people’s lives. As I do volunteering
for my church, Harvest Spring Community Church in Great Falls, MT,
the biggest volunteering “achievements” in my life have taken
place in other countries.

In the fall of 2014, when I was a sophomore in high school, I took my first
adventure to another country, Ethiopia! I went there through a church
in Billings, MT. I stayed there for 10 days working in an orphanage.
One of the first things we did when I was there was go out and buy a
generator so that they could get their well working in order to have
clean water! We helped them set it up and taught some of the older
boys how to work it so if something happened then they would know
what to do. We also helped build a little shed for the generator and
build another storage room for their food. They don’t have fridges
or anything like that so it is important that they had a place to put
their food. They rarely had meat and they grew everything they ate
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner right there in the orphanage.

The next trip I took was the fall of 2015, to Bolivia through my church in Great
Falls. I stayed in Bolivia for a week, but I didn’t work with an
orphanage, instead I stayed in a small village to see what the funds
from our church were going towards. We helped them with one project
called “The Kitchen Project.” We assisted them in carrying rocks
and dirt, getting the base started so they could get going once we
left! It was an amazing experience getting to actually live in the
environment they do. Although they treated us so well so we were in
no means living like they do on a daily basis, but it was incredible
to be around.

Along with the global travel, we sponsor children from both Ethiopia and Bolivia.
Getting to go and visit the kids’ makes for such a strong
connection. One of my favorite parts is receiving letters in the mail
from the girls or boy I sponsor. The biggest struggle in the end is
having to leave those countries and the people that you meet because
they have to go through those hard times every single day and it is
completely heart breaking having to leave them behind. I do
everything I can while I’m away and not there, like sponsor the
kids to keep in touch. I have learned how good of a life I have and
to not take anything for granted. I now cherish the bed I sleep in,
the showers I take, the food I get to eat, the clean water that we
drink, and especially the education that I am allowed to earn. The
overall lesson volunteering has taught me is to take everything as a
blessing.


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