Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Feeding For the Future

Name: Colleen Campbell
From: Bellevue, WA
Grade: 12
School: Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
Votes: 0

  • Looking towards
    the future, how do you see your activities as “forward looking?”
    What does “forward looking” mean to you?

I volunteered at a local foodbank over the past summer, doing the morning shift two
days each week, so about 9 hours each week for 5 weeks. This is not
the first time I have done so. My grandfather worked at a foodbank
regularly, and one summer I spent several days a week volunteering
there. At that foodbank, it was structured like a normal grocery
store, just smaller, with shopping carts, and people wandered through
on their own picking out the items and then going to a register to
check out based on their allotment. At the foodbank I volunteered at
this summer, it was set up so people who came in went down a line,
and while they got to choose which of the items they wanted, one of
the volunteers was on the other side of the line helping them choose
and distributing. We came in earlier in the morning to set up the
line, and to stock the shelves, and then would take our places on the
line to help distribute for the day. What was hardest for me was when
I would be distributing meat, and there would be only chicken and
turkey that day, but one or two packages of steak, and it tore at me
to tell the next person there was none left once it had gone. I was
most surprised by seeing that some of my fellow volunteers had
recently been on the other side of the distribution, and would
individually check in with the people who came down the line, and it
became a point of personal satisfaction when I started to know people
well enough to ask after their families.

I plan to pursue mathematics for the rest of my life. As such, most
of my life will be spent looking at numbers and patterns, with the
only investment being my love of math. There will be no personal
element to my work, so I will continue to volunteer in direct service
opportunities, where I can engage with others, because that will
satisfy the need to feel like I can make a personal difference. This
is a large part of my definition of the term “forward looking.” I
see my volunteering as having both positive impact on the people I
helped, but also showing me that volunteering is something I need to
do in my adult life, both to continue helping, but also to satisfy
the desire I have for personal engagement. I do not believe that if I
came back to this town in several decades that my volunteering will
have changed the overall state of things here, but I do think if I
could see the lives of the individual people I worked with, I would
see a more peaceful situation than they were in when I met them.

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