Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Changing A Life

Name: Aditi Ganesan
From: Monmouth Junction, New Jersey
Grade: 11
School: South Brunswick High School
Votes: 0

Aditi
Ganesan

Youth
Forward Scholarship 2017

Changing
A Life

Patrick,
you’re going to spill it,” I warned. But I was too late. Patrick
dropped his orange juice, which proceeded to cover every surface in
the vicinity. I sighed and grabbed a pile of napkins to mop up the
mess. All the while, Patrick watched me nervously with apologetic
eyes. I wanted to yell at him but I couldn’t find it in my heart to
be mad at the kid I had grown to love so much.

Every
Saturday morning for the past three years, I have driven down to
Trenton to tutor an inner-city youth, Patrick. Through a program
called Quixote Quest, I have the chance to be a positive influence
for someone who needs all the positive influences he can get. In
addition to tutoring him in math and reading, I also take on the role
of a Big Sister with him. I help him learn how to behave properly and
form connections with other people. Most importantly though, I am a
friend and a role model to him when he needs one.

I
thought that tutoring Patrick would be easy, given that academics
were my forte. I could not have been more wrong. His hyperactive
eight-year-old mind never seemed to want to focus on anything. What
made it harder was that he genuinely struggled with basic math and
reading out loud. I had no idea how to help him and I became more and
more disillusioned with the whole process. Just when I was starting
to consider quitting, we made a breakthrough. Everything up to that
point was completely worth the feeling of intense euphoria when I
realized that I was actually making progress. To my surprise, I found
myself realizing that I could actually help this kid.

When
I first started this program, I was fifteen and a sophomore in high
school. Looking back now as a seventeen-year-old high school senior,
I cannot believe how much Patrick has helped me! I was able to make
him realize that his future wasn’t decided for him, even though he
had been dealt a tough hand in life. In order to do this, I had to
step into the role of a responsible adult that he could look up to. I
never had to be an adult for anybody before but I found myself
welcoming the challenge. Patrick has single-handedly taught me about
responsibility and adulthood without even knowing it.

I
hope that I have given Patrick a chance to have the life that he
deserves. Although I wish I could help every single child in
Patrick’s position, I cannot. However, I did my best to help
Patrick and I hope that I have opened up some doors in Patrick’s
life. Now, Patrick is considering further education at a two-year or
four-year institution. I am confident that in ten or twenty years,
Patrick will be successful through hard work and the skills I have
helped him to develop. While my interest lies in business, I hope
that I can continue to work with children like Patrick. I want to
continue to touch each life and leave it better than when I found it.


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