Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Changing My World Through Education

Name: Paris Colbert
From: Cleveland Heights, OH
Grade: 11th
School: Cleveland Heights High School
Votes: 32

Community
service activities provide various benefits to the volunteers and
those receiving the service. Over the past few years, I have
witnessed the benefits first-hand by being involved in various
community service activities such as volunteering at different local
nursing homes, a food bank and aiding students with disabilities.
However, I believe education is an essential component to any
individual’s path to achieving their goals. Therefore, I have
dedicated most of my time to tutoring children struggling
academically through the National Honor Society (NHS) and the
Saturday Tutoring Program (STP).

As
a member of NHS, I met with students once every month to help work on
class assignments and improve their grades. I believe it helped to
connect lowerclassmen with upperclassmen that have experienced the
same dilemmas in school as them. I enjoyed helping younger students
with their dilemmas in the classroom by sharing my perspective and
experiences. In the same way, the STP aided struggling students to
improve academically. The program meets every Saturday during the
school year and welcomes students from various schools in Cleveland
to come and receive help with school work. This program allowed me to
work with elementary-aged students over the course of the year and
watch as they progressed.

Although
I received immense satisfaction from my work as a volunteer, I also
had many challenges as a tutor. The biggest challenge was by far
figuring out how to approach subjects I saw as fairly simple and
finding new ways to translate the material into understandable terms.
I was hard at first, but I enjoyed helping the students and the
experience helped me realize that I am not powerless as an
individual. I have the ability to effect change in others lives.

I
see all of my community service activities as “forward-looking”.
To me, “forward-looking” means establishing innovative, effective
practices and ideas within a community service initiative that
individuals can carry with them long after a service project is over.
I believe these programs looked forward by helping students to
achieve inside the classroom by equipping them with the necessary
skills, while also highlighting the importance of education and
dedication.

Through
my work as a volunteer I hope to be able to keep at least one child
on the right path by helping them overcome obstacles they thought
were immoveable and accomplish their wildest dreams. In the words of
Josh Shipp, “every kid is one caring adult away from being a
success story”. As I teeter on the edge of adolescence and
adulthood I carry those words with me to remind myself of the
obstacles facing millions of youth today and why those problems need
to be addressed. I use that as motivation in my academics so that I
will one day be able to help the children that are often cast aside.
I hope to become an adolescent psychologist in order to work within
schools to improve students’ academic achievement, create positive
learning environments, promote positive behavior and improve
school-wide accessibility to appropriate services.


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