Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Life Changing Service

Name: Kaiyell Pettie
From: New York, NY
Grade: 11th
School: High School of Economics & Finance
Votes: 0

Changing Service

Making a difference in the lives of many is an important factor in my
success. This led me to volunteer the little time within my own
religion as well as my neighboring communities. On the weekends, I
volunteer in my church’s eventful activities. My local church, in
which I was baptized and completed my holy communion in many years
ago, is named St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church. Whether it be
volunteering with Holy Communion activities or helping serve food to
the homeless, I truly enjoy serving in the church as a pillar to my
community. Being the multitasked student that I already am, I never
settle to participate in only one organization. Throughout my high
school years I have also volunteered with non profit agencies such as
New York Cares (240 hours), Citymeals on Wheels (160 hours), City
Harvest (50 hours), Global Glimpse (110 hours), and Operation
Gratitude (75 hours). My tasks, volunteering with New York Cares,
included repainting damaged benches at Astoria Park and bagging
compost at Queensbridge Park.This has been my longest service
commitment as I continue to volunteer with them for over five years.
By volunteering with these agencies, I have learned the true value of
life and how sacred it is.

I’ll never forget the memories, smiles, laughs, and hardships of the
people I met and served in the Dominican Republic as a member of
Global Glimpse. Global Glimpse is an immersion trip to a developing
country in which U.S students travel to help improve communities.
During my three week trip, I was granted the opportunity to teach
English to members of the community whose ages ranged from 10 to 65
years old. Before my English tutoring sessions, there was a gap in
many of my students of their understanding of the English language.
However, after three weeks of tutoring sessions, nearly all of my
students were writing and speaking English on an intermediate level.
Currently, I am still in contact with my students as their aspiration
to have a career in America have grown. These newfound aspirations
wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for these tutoring
sessions in which they now have a better understanding of the English
language. Also on this service trip, I completed a community action
project in which I helped build a pathway for workers that travel to
work by foot. Our group of volunteers used gravel to ensure the
pathway was safe and easily accessible. Before this construction, it
would take workers close to five hours to get to work. After this
pathway was built, their travel time was cut down to below two hours.
Currently, I serve as an ambassador, spending many hours informing
students of the benefits of Global Glimpse.I felt that this trip was
my greatest public service activity because I truly made a difference
in the lives of the locals. Knowing that I helped teach a new
language, helped a country’s environment, and helped make someone’s
workload easier has gave me a sense of self fulfillment. The impact I
made while in the Dominican Republic will last for years to come. I
still stay in contact with my students and check to see what they are
up to.

My work and impact with New York Cares dates back five years ago when I
was in middle school. The impact within the volunteer work I have
done over the years partnered with New York Cares varies from helping
out at recreational centers, contributing to community
revitalization, to providing companionship to a nursing center. On
several occasions, I would volunteer with other New York Cares
members to help with recreational activities at Elmcor Center. This
included playing outdoor games with kids and setting up equipment for
adult sporting activities. During the many hours we spent with the
children, we emphasized how valuable a recreational center is to the
community. The values we have instilled in them is evidential in that
they grew up to be active members of the recreational center and of
their community. My contribution to communities is well documented
because of New York Cares. I have helped rebuild community parks by
repainting feeble benches and planting at many local gardens. The
parks I have worked on are an important aspect of their respective
communities. Everyone within their communities takes great pride in
seeing everything up to par and scenic, rather than broken down and
grotesque looking. My community revitalization impact has contributed
to most community members being proud of the community they live in.
Another revitalization project I worked on required me to mix, sort,
and bag compost. By using compost, organic matter is returned to soil
in a usable form. Improving soil is the first step toward improving
the health of your plants. Healthy plants help clean our air and
conserve our soil, making our communities healthier places to live.
Overall, New York Cares has allowed me to give back to many different
communities and impact the lives of its members.

Homebound elderly New Yorkers never have to worry that they might go without
food on any day of the week thanks to Citymeals on Wheels. The meals
that I help deliver includes a protein item, vegetable, fruit and a
whole grain component, as well as vitamin C-enriched juice. Through
my delivery sessions, I have the opportunity to connect with these
homebound senior and get to know them personally. These reliable
visits provide a sense of comfort for our isolated elderly who often
no longer have any living family or friends nearby. My most frequent
visits was with a woman named Eleanor, who was an 86 year-old meal
recipient living in Manhattan who suffers from osteoarthritis and
relies on a wheelchair to get around her small apartment. During the
week, I’d frequently call to see if she was worrying about
something or she had a doctor’s appointment. We usually spoke about
current events, and briefly watch television together. She passed
away in early 2016, but I felt that for the latter part of her life,
I made a significant impact. Many of the homebound elderly suffer
from loneliness and depression and thus seek companionship. Eleanor
did not have any children and did not encounter much human contact
during the latter part of her life. I provided her with the much
needed companionship and support that she sought out, on top of the
meals that she enjoyed as well. Although I miss Eleanor, I remain
hopeful that I will have positive impacts on the lives of other
seniors. A good portion of our meal recipients value the hand
delivered meals more than others because it is their only source of
nutrition. I have proudly contributed to reduce the number of
starving elderly senior citizens and enriched their lives with great

Service is a natural byproduct of being a good leader.The pillar of service
has transformed my mentality in the way I view civic duty. I know
that there’s great need in the world, and I strive to be someone
who can help people, not by doing deeds for them, but by helping them
help themselves. With that in mind, I have volunteered with numerous
organizations with the goal of providing sustainability to
communities at large.

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