Name: Brady Coulthard
From: Neillsville, Wisconsin
School: Neillsville High School
Brady Coulthard – Youth Forward Scholarship Essay
I want to change the world. As an avid reader, I wanted to promote
youth literacy. When attending the FFA Washington Leadership
Conference in Washington D.C., I created a Living to Serve plan, a
plan that combined my passion for reading with a real plan to promote
youth literacy. I left this conference ready to make an impact. On
the flight home from Washington D.C. I was already searching for
organizations to collaborate with in Wisconsin. I coordinated with
our local food pantry and Next Door MKE, an inner-city program that
donates books to children of low-income families.
I reached out to local businesses, asking if they would participate.
Many offered to hang flyers, and six hosted a book drop box. I used
my graphic design skills to create promotional posters. I hung up
posters everywhere I was allowed. I promoted my project via social
media, sending out messages and writing posts. Throughout the two
weeks of my book drive, I frequently collected books from the
overflowing drop boxes. Towards the end of the book drive, keeping up
with the influx of books became a daily task.
My community donated 2,400 books to my project! The most challenging
part of my project was sorting and counting the books. I had help
from Neillsville and Granton FFA members. We spent hours after school
looking for markings, ripped pages, and other defects. We sorted the
books by age groups, making sure that the food pantry and Next Door
MKE would each get a wide variety of books. The support I received
from teachers, students, my family, and community members was
essential in making this project such a success.
My project ended in the middle of November, but I will continue to do
community service. Serving the community has become one of my
passions. I spend more time serving the community than I do watching
TV! I want to help provide others with opportunities in as many ways
as I can. Through this project, I learned how to set more realistic
goals and enhanced my communication skills. It was necessary for me
to learn how to communicate effectively to ask businesses and
community members for their support. I have also met some of closest
friends and grew my professional network. The part of my project that
made me feel really good about leading was seeing the community come
together to help another community.
Knowing these books will be given to a diverse group of children whose
families live below the poverty line and cannot afford books was so
satisfying. If distribution goes as planned, 2,400 children will be
able to take books home and read with their families. Literacy is
essential for a well-rounded education, and educated citizens make
for a better society. I know the power of education, and I have seen
firsthand how sharing and valuing reading and education starts at
home and can change the world.