Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Outward Expression of Faith

Name: Elizabeth Paz
From: Reseda, California
Grade: 11th
School: Cleveland Charter High School as of 2017, University of California, Los Angeles class of 2021
Votes: 0

My
fundamental roots in life stem from my compassion driven religion and
the giving culture I come from. As a child I soaked up the sermons,
the mission trips, and my family’s image. These important events in
my life have shown me that to serve others, is to serve the Greater
Good.This bedrock has sculpted my whole being and given me true
purpose in life. Seeing others who are not achieving their true
potential and therefore being deprived of a better life, motivates me
to take initiative to be a positive change in my community. One way I
fulfill this desire is as a volunteer at the Police Activity League
(PALS), a youth center, where I assist elementary school children
exposed to gang violence.

Through
the PALS program, I help these children with all aspects of life,
whether it be academics or home life. I noticed a lack motivation in
the students who were struggling with their school work; stemming
from the lack of support in their homes. I asked the director of the
youth center if it would be okay for me to create an enrichment
program where I would be able to use my knowledge to expose children
to the endless possibilities of creativity and academic excellence.
He approved my plan and I created an enrichment program called the
PALS Scholars.

With
my burning desire to create change, I gathered a few of my very
charismatic and intellectual friends to accompany me on this journey.
By doing so, the program gained popularity, consistency in
attendance, and a solid foundation in academic support. As a team, we
were able to divide the curriculum we would cover into manageable
sections in order to ensure a quality education for our Scholars. We
held weekly meetings where we would teach new content, start new
books, and distribute homework packets. In order to reinforce the
skills the Scholars learned we held quizzes and small competitions.
The whole purpose of this program was to start small with positive
incentives such as stickers and small notebooks, to motivate the
students to try their best and complete their additional homework
assignments.We hoped that even though we started by giving these
students prizes, that this would later flourish into genuine passion
to excel.

By
the end of the program, I could tell through the academic
improvement and confidence of my students that they had realized
their true potential and now are dedicated to become scholars in
their schools. Knowing that by just spending time with these children
to help them in school brought them more than just knowledge but also
the will to exceed and restrain from apathy towards school truly
pleases God and me.

This
initiative, although small, has allowed me to believe that I can make
a change in someone’s life. All I need is determination, faith, and
great company to join the journey.


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