Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Children are the Future

Name: Paige Stearns
From: Edwardsville, Illinois
Grade: Freshman in College
School: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Votes: 0

I have had the wonderful experience of doing many volunteer programs.
Some of those were being a spokesperson during our FFA Greenhouse
tours for all the Edwardsville district kindergartners. Here I helped
teach the students about plants and how they grow and effect our
lives. I’ve helped at the Edwardsville YMCA for the children’s
picnic. We brought animals, games, and prizes and helped the kids
enjoy learning. I also have helped at the Meridian Village Senior
living home and made food and played games with the people living
there. I participated in a food drive for the food pantry and raised
money and food to give away to the people in need. Lastly, I
participated in the Junior Achievement Program with Lewis and Clark
and got to go in the classroom and be with students which is my
favorite place to be. I really enjoy helping children and I am going
to school to be an elementary school teacher. Some of the things I
have done, have taught me so much about myself and about life. I
probably have put in around 100 or more hours a year in volunteering
over the past couple years. As a volunteer, my biggest problem has
been not being able to help everyone! I want to help everyone and try
to make sure everyone is happy, but sometimes that is not always
possible. Having also helped people in need, I have realized how much
help is needed, and not being able to give them everything breaks my
heart because I know they are going without. The most satisfaction
has been seeing the different people’s faces after you help them.
Seeing young children glow after they have been taught something or
been able to learn something new is an amazing feeling. I am a firm
believer that if you help someone, then they are more likely to help
someone else and the cycle will continue. To me this is forward
looking. Just helping one person, can increase the likelihood that
they will also help someone and going forward everyone will help one
another. I have realized over the past couple years, that the people
who have the least, seem to appreciate the most. I have begun to
realize that it is not about what you have, it is all about how you
treat others. Through my volunteering, I seek to change the way
people think about children who are from poverty, or have special
needs. Having worked with these children, I see firsthand the amazing
things they can do and I hope that I can encourage others to realize
that they are the same as all kids and they need love too. I hope
that if I come back and visit these kids in 10,20, or 30 years that
they will feel proud of who they are and will remember all the fun
times we had and hopefully they are successful and helping other kids
in need, that is my goal!

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