Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – A Beautiful Experience

Name: Thomas L. McPherson
From: Richardson , Texas
Grade: High School Senior
School: Texas Tech University
Votes: 0


Youth Forward Scholarship
Submission 2017

Thomas
McPherson

My
Volunteering Experience

There
is a lot that goes into volunteering and my experiences with such
were riddled by efforts of teachers and students alike. Memories were
created, some stronger than others and so many factors played a part.
Teachers came and went but some made a lasting impact and words were
exchanged but some burrowed their way into my everyday life. All of
these things in some way shape or form had to do with a volunteering
experience I had during my senior year at Richardson High School.

Throughout
my High School career, I was given an abundance of opportunities to
volunteer but one stuck out among the bunch. I was chosen, with a few
of my other classmates, to attend a local elementary school for a day
to be a big brother of sorts to troubled children. Most of these kids
came from troubled homes where they were abused or neglected in some
way but you wouldn’t be able to tell that by their gleaming smiles
and engaging personalities. Now, to say the least, I remember that I
was nervous but I knew that what I was about to take part in could
very well make someone’s day. As my peers and I entered through
the front door of Spring Creek Elementary we were greeted by a bunch
of smiling little faces and immediately swarmed by a bunch of eager
little kids. After the chaos died down my classmates and I were each
given three kids to mentor and spend the day with and our main job
was to simply listen. We played games and worked on homework and told
stories, it was an extremely rewarding experience that warmed my
heart. They told me stories of what their home lives were like with a
brutal honesty that opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective and
a window into their worlds. I knew by just listening and being a
supportive presence I was helping these kids cope with problems they
had and that alone, was rewarding in its own right. After a day with
these kids I felt wholehearted and empathetic, hearing their stories
and listening to them caused me to relate and reflect on how I could
make a difference at home and in others’ lives. It was an
experience I will never forget and always hold dearly to my heart.

That
experience would not have been possible without the hard work and
dedication that my teacher, Mrs. Fisher, exhibited. She was a woman
that I looked up to and respected, every ounce of her efforts went
towards benefiting others in some way and her countless selfless acts
never went unnoticed by my fellow classmates and I. She had the
patience to work with me through any issues I had at home or at
school and acted as a mentor to me during my senior year of High
School. She led by example and always practiced what she preached.
Her actions were congruent with her words and she never ceased to
have a smile on her face and a joke to tell. She ultimately
influenced me to be a more empathetic and patient person. She taught
me to tackle issues head on with a cool mind and an open heart. Her
mentorship not only helped me on the academic front but also taught
me invaluable life lessons that I carry with me to this day.

Throughout
my years of volunteering I met numerous people whose words I still
carry with me today. People would share quotes and most of the time
they were lost in translation but one of them resonated with me and
has clung to me ever since. It goes like this, “Good, better, best.
Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is
best.” This quote by St. Jerome, was told to me by a teacher of
mine and it has reminded me to always be the best version of myself
that I can possible be. It is my favorite quote because it holds a
meaningful message and relates to everything I do in my day to day
routine. It is a bunch of common words that is strewn together to
create something catchy and consequential and to me, that is
beautiful.

Many
things have opened my eyes to different walks of life, sparked my
interest and ignited my imagination but none more so than my
experience volunteering at Spring Creek Elementary. Made possible by
my senior year mentor and teacher, she stuck me out on a limb and
made me embrace life and see things from a different perspective. I
learned of quotes that I would have never before and I adopted one of
them as a motto to stand by. Overall, my time volunteering made me
grow leaps and bounds as a person and has pushed me to continue to
seek experiences like the one I have described.


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