Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Education is the KEY to Success

Name: Gabriela Guzman-Ruiz
From: San Jose, California
Grade: Senior level
School: KIPP San Jose Collegiate
Votes: 0

Over these past
two summers, I decided to volunteer in a non-profit organization that
has a goal of helping kids in my community that are academically
behind. I was with the prospective first graders for approximately 4
weeks in the month of July and about 7 hours a day. These were the
type of students that were considered the “trouble-makers”
and in reality all they needed was help! Personally, I went through
the struggle of a hardship in school and it started early on. When I
started kinder, I did not know how to speak English. With that, I
couldn’t read nor write and as a result was very behind. A year
later, I learned how to read and write but I was still behind
academically when compared to my classmates. A couple of years later,
they diagnosed me with ADHD-PI. I did not get any type of
accommodations to suit my needs, but thankfully I was able to grow as
a person. I was able to achieve academically in many things. This was
possible through the help of my sixth grade teacher who told me to
forget about my “diagnosis” and concentrate into getting
better in school. I followed the advice she suggested and indeed I
was able to achieve and even surpass my classmates by even taking AP

In the program I
was responsible for being a volunteer in the classroom and help the
“teacher” and the” teacher aid”, but I acted as
so much more than that. I occasionally became the teacher and read to
the little kids. Surprisingly, I was able to control the kids better
than the “teacher” and “teacher aid”. This power
gave me an authority there, but as always there is always one that
rebels and defies the rules: a little boy. He was mischievous and
really hyperactive, but little did I know that all he needed was
help. So I arranged a plan that consisted of focusing solely on him.
It was difficult to figure out the way he learned but I was able to.
I started assigning roles to him and as a result, he started focusing
more on his academics. This little boy changed so much that it was
apparent in his appearance. I grew so attached to him and figured
that if I keep returning here, I can create so much change in my
community. This has helped me figure out that I can actually interact
and impact children. I concluded that perhaps I may be on the path to
be a teacher. Now, I want to promote change in the education style
that these kids are getting and be their light of hope that my sixth
grade teacher was once for me. In all honesty, I truly desire that I
at least help one person and that they pass their knowledge to
someone else that is needy, the pay it forward movement in the hope
of a better community where children get well educated.

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