Youth Forward Scholarship 2018 – Community Service Changed My Life

Name: Prince-Henry Fuller
From: Jacksonville, FL
Grade: High School Senior
School: Westside High School
Votes: 0

Community Service Changes My Life

I never realized how much of an impact you can have in another person’s
life before I began participating in community service. I had always
been very self-centered, as many people my age tend to be. Then I
started the S.T.A.R. Mentoring program. Upon entering the program my
life quickly changed. I never really had a desire to do community
service and even the mentoring program began it was still something I
did purely out of obligation. My first year in the program I didn’t
see how me going once every few weeks to visit some kid in elementary
school would help them become a better student. I saw it as a waste
of time to go there and force a conversation with a kid who wanted to
be there less than I did. However, as the weeks went on, I began to
get closer to my mentee. We started getting better at communicating
with each other, the conversations got easier and flowed more
naturally. It had even reached a point where the kid was excited on
the days I would visit. I, however, still couldn’t see how I was
doing this was going to help this kid. All I was doing was what was
required of me by the National Honor Society.

During my entire first year in the program, I failed to realize just how
valuable the time I spent at the school was – not only to them, but
for me. I was developing into a young man and these elementary
students taught me invaluable lessons about commitment. Only looking
back now, do I see how important the plan was in my development. It
didn’t matter that it felt like I was just there to talk because I
was doing much more than that. I was giving these kids something to
look up to, someone they could aspire to be like. Realizing that me
giving just a little of my time to these kids, showing them that
someone cares about them, sparked a change in my mindset. I realized
that sharing just a small part of myself, my story can make a
significant impact in people’s lives. Before I thought that you had
to be this fantastic, selfless, devoted person to make any change in
someone’s life and I was wrong. I realized I didn’t have to change
myself entirely to be able to help others. If I became just a little
less self-centered than I can impact others. And, that’s what I
decided to do. I started to take into consideration the lives of
other people and what I can do to help them even if it’s the
smallest of gestures. Even something as simple as giving my pocket
change to someone in need can help as long as I do something.
Thinking like this helped me develop a more liberal mindset. Before
I thought if I could only help a little I may as well not, because it
would not improve anything at all. I did not think it would make a
difference, but that was just my selfish side talking. I didn’t want
to waste my time on others. Now I see how horrible thinking like
that can be.

Now, I am much more grateful and appreciative. The experience has given me
a better sense of empathy towards others. I now think about how I
would feel if I were in a time of need and there was no one to help
me. Especially considering if I knew the only reason they didn’t
support was that they didn’t feel they could do enough. As well as
shaping my mindset, community service also helped develop my
character. Without caring for those in my community, I wouldn’t have
become as well rounded of a person. I would not have such a strong
sense of compassion for others. I’d be living only for myself and
not making the world better for anyone else and that was a scary
thing to me. If everyone lived like that, we would have a world full
of selfish people and so many people would be uncared for. It would
just be an evil world without a purposeful sense of compassion and
community within every person. Community service helped me identify
a cause I could be passionate about and make a part of my life’s
purpose – helping disadvantaged people within the community. Being
that it’s something I can personally relate to I will always work
towards assisting that cause in every way I can. I have been given a
sense of empathy for that reason by doing community service, it has
even impacted my future by inspiring me with ways to incorporate
giving back into my career path. Without community service, I would
still only be living just to serve myself, without compassion for

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