Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Virtues Through Action

Name: Alec Sietz
From: Woolwich, New Jersey
Grade: Junior (Class of 2017)
School: Salesianum
Votes: 0

Virtues Through Action

Throughout my time in High School I have had the privilege of
experiencing many unique community service adventures, while learning
about people’s stories. Along the way I further explored my faith and
doing so created new relationships and skills. Each trip that I have
made to serve the community did not just benefit others, it also
benefitted me. Every experience has further developed the nine
virtues my school pushes us all to uphold: faith, hope, love,
temperance, justice, fortitude, prudence, humility, and gentleness.

The Camden trip has had a huge impact on my life. All nine virtues
were explored throughout the entirety of the two day trip. In Camden
I have heard many stories of how people live. Despite many of these
people living lives of struggle; they remain strong with their faith
and help the community around them. Many people who live in Camden
have shown the virtue of fortitude, they put past their struggles for
the betterment of the community. Many inspired me, to be stronger
with my faith. We constantly did prayer sessions to give us time to
think alone in silence. The lights were off and candles were lit.
Everyone had to read a passage from the bible.

Then we used what was read for meditation and thought about it alone
with our eyes closed. Once our eyes were open everyone would share
their thoughts, many of these thoughts were about people’s personal
lives. The virtue prudence was exercised in the room. The session
gave everyone a sense of community and healing.

While in Camden we also attended an Alcoholic Addiction meeting. All
the people who gathered in this room had some kind of an addiction,
all wanted help. The virtues justice, humility, and love were deeply
expressed throughout the room. It was hard for these men and women to
stand up and talk about their stories. Many were embarrassed with
their lives, but no longer had to be because they were there to get
help. Each and every person throughout that room drew strength from
each other. They all had a bond and expressed love for one another.
It took a lot of humility for everyone there to respect one another
and to bring a sense of justice into their lives. After the Alcoholic
Addiction meeting many seemed to be more at peace.

Lastly my community service as an assistant at the church, coaching,
and an elementary school were my most entertaining experiences. I
have brought hope, temperance, and gentleness to the communities I
served in. At my church I served during Christmas time, we set up
plays for the kids to participate in during Christmas mass. These
plays were a visual learning experience for both the kids and the
people watching. Wilmington Youth Rowing Association hosted a let’s
row program introducing kids how to row. Many these kids came from
different backgrounds, poor to rich. The program keeps kids in
Wilmington busy and out of trouble during the summer. Early this
school I assisted at an elementary school. There I helped around the
place until it was time for recess and lunch. Entertaining these kids
was probably my most favorite memories of all. The amount of energy
they had was unbelievable. I played tag, football, basketball, and
drew with chalk on the concrete. I did not realize the affect I had
on these kids until after the fact, the kids got really upset and
wanted me to finish out the day with them. The bus driver that drove
us back to Salesianum found out I was the one playing with her kids,
she thanked me with excitement. Later in the day I learned that many
of these kids would be walking back home and would sometimes run into
small shoot outs.

When I got home to think about the different life I I lived as a kid
compared to the kids I coach and assisted both in the church and in
school, was black and white. I realized I have brought hope to those
kids, through a temperate attitude, and gentleness. By the end of my
high school career, I have two hundred, plus, service hours. What my
experiences have taught me is how to show virtue through action.

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