Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – How Volunteering Changed My Life

Name: Kimberlyn Caywood
From: Georgetown, Please Select...
Grade: 12th
School: Homeschooled
Votes: 0

I started
volunteering at our local humane society my sophomore year of high
school. As a senior, I have completed over 100 hours of volunteering
there. My primary job was to socialize the animals, making them more
adoptable, but I also washed them and helped visitors as well.

One of the most
rewarding experiences I have had while volunteering there was the
adoption of a pit bull mix named Roxanne. She was skittish and
sometimes aggressive, so she couldn’t live in a home with small
children or any other animals. Out of the nearly 200 animals housed
there, she was my favorite, and every week I would visit her. We
already had one dog, so, realistically, I knew adopting her wasn’t
an option, but I still hoped it would somehow happen anyway.

Roxanne was a dog
who had already been adopted out several times, but the final time
came when I was actually there. I saw her leave with a new owner that
wasn’t me, and I cried a little. After over a year of living at the
humane society, she had a home, with people who loved her.

My biggest
challenge as a volunteer was time management. I’m a dedicated
student, so balancing schoolwork, community service, work and
extracurriculars was definitely a challenge. I’m glad that it’s
something I made time for, though: not only was it a worthwhile
experience that developed character, but ultimately, it would help me
decide my career path. I’m now planning on becoming an executive
director at a non-profit, and hope to work with a variety of causes
throughout my career, from women’s rights to food insecurity.

I’ve always
been so involved in social issues that volunteering was something
that I genuinely loved. The most important aspect of it to me was the
attention I could give to the animals, and, particularly, when I saw
adoptions taking place and knew that my love was a small portion of
that. As someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression for much
of their life, it made me feel like the future was something I could
control, through the positive impact of volunteering.

This experience was “forward looking” because it contributed to
the skills I would need as an executive director. “Forward
looking”, to me, means looking to the future-preparing so that your
dreams do not stay dreams, but become reality, and taking measures to
ensure that this world is left better for future generations.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".