Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Act of Kindness

Name: Emma Ives
From: Mundelein, Illinois
Grade: 12
School: Carmel Catholic High School
Votes: 0

For the past three years of high school, I have been a volunteer for St.
Patrick School of Wadsworth as part of my graduation requirements. I
knew that once I graduated eighth grade I would like to give back to
my grade school in whatever way I could. That would mean spending my
days off going to school to do a variety of jobs or spending my
evenings coaching basketball. If it was once month or twice a week,
it did not matter; I just enjoyed seeing the familiar faces of my old
teachers and the underclassmen.

When I volunteered during regular school hours, I worked with students
from preschool to junior high. In junior high, I helped kids who
needed a little more attention during math class and proofread
papers. In preschool, I did a variety of activities to help out the
teacher and engage the little kids with what they learned that day.
If I could in the evening, I would help my dad coach the girls’
basketball team.

My biggest challenge as a volunteer would be the art of patience. When
working with younger kids, I could not just tell them how to do a
task. I had to help them figure it out on their own. This can be
frustrating for tasks I usually take as second nature. For example,
one little kid was struggling to figure out how to use a colored
pencil for his drawing of an animal. He asked for help. I picked up a
pencil and showed him an example. After a few tries, he “grasped”
(no pun intended) the concept. With basketball, drills that were easy
to me because of practice were difficult to the girls younger than
me. It was hard to explain that they needed to keep working to master
the skill.

As a volunteer, it is satisfying to know how appreciated I am. No matter
if I am helping a little kids paint or proofreading an eighth
grader’s final paper, what little I give is received with a big
thank you. I have learned that what knowledge I have gained from
experience is important to those learning. I love to teach, though I
will not be choosing that as a career path. I will be working with
people as a researcher. These experiences are vital to learning how
to inform and work with others. I hope that what I pass on makes an
impact on a person, so they can go and teach another as well. This
chain reaction will continue helping others in the near future. A
simple act of kindness is always remembered and appreciated.  

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