Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Heaven on Earth

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were naughty but innocent; barely experienced, but intellectual;
pure, but just a wee bit corrupted; childish, but mature in their own
way. It was the summer of 2016. What I had thought to be the most
boring summer vacation of my life turned out to be the best one I had
so far. I was just roaming around on campus when I happened to meet
Mrs. Madrid and she asked me if I was free during the summer to
volunteer for the Summer Lunch and Learn Program. Mom didn
have any plans. My best friend was traveling to Japan so I said,
course. I can.

volunteered for three hours five days a week and some days I even
volunteered for five hours. The program provided kids under 18 with
free breakfast meals, followed by an arts and craft activity. As a
volunteer, I helped to set up the table for arts and crafts
activities. There were also times when I helped planned activities
and also helped the kids follow the instructor. Sometimes I also
received exclusive requests to read storybooks. It was challenging to
work with kids because I
not an active person, and well, they are kids. They need to be
entertained every second of every day and I
glad that I was a part of their chaotic bubble. It was magical,
whether it was seeing them smile at every silly face I made, or
decorate the asphalt until the last dust of chalk was spent, or even
just a shy little hello. It made my day. It was as if I lived for
them. I couldn
wait to see them the next day. Somehow we had all become a family
without realizing how or when. It felt like I was living in a fantasy
storybook of mine and just for a couple of hours each day I had the
privilege of witnessing heaven on earth and these kids were my
beautiful angels. It was more than satisfying to know that these kids
were at least getting breakfast every day since a majority of them
were homeless. I hope I positively influenced these kids and gave
them an ample amount of motivation to keep living. It feels good to
know that my actions matter, no matter how small. I hope that I keep
making people smile by my actions as they are rare to be seen. I am
very confident when I that in ten years, these same kids will come up
to me and tell me all about their volunteering experiences with the
program. After all, creating a positive influence is not a burden but
an honor. It was painful when the program ended, but the kids didn
leave without a gift. Before leaving they taught me how to live.
Enjoying life wasn
all about AP Exams and SATs or getting into the best college. It was
about taking a break, making silly faces, and not being okay.

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