Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Compassion Starts with YOU

Name: Alyssa Montalvo
From: Redwood City, California
Grade: 12
School: Woodside High School
Votes: 0

Forward Scholarship Entry 2016

I am a volunteer at the BOK equine therapy ranch in Woodside,
California. This program involves giving disabled children and adults
the opportunity to ride horseback. This is a very rewarding
experience for me because working with the horses brings such
happiness to the disabled people, and seeing them happy brightens my
day! I also enjoy befriending the students and having meaningful
conversations; we learn a lot from each other. I volunteer at least
twice a week at this facility, and often the days are 5-6 hours and
occupy most of my weekends. I have been a volunteer for over 2 years
here. My biggest responsibility as a volunteer is ensuring the
students’ safety while they are in a horse lesson﹣I put their
lives before my own in the case of an emergency. Often, young
students are fearful of the horses during their first lessons, and I
am right by their side to soothe them and make them feel comfortable.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced is an emergency dismount
from a horse. Once, a horse was misbehaving, and it was up to me to
dismount the child and bring him to safety. Although I was very
scared for my own safety, I knew that I had to make sure the child
was safe as well and not follow my instincts to flee from the horse.
I get the most satisfaction when I see a child’s improvement over
the weeks. It is amazing to see how far they go and to know that I’ve
helped to make a difference in their life. From my volunteer
position, I have learned important intrapersonal skills and patience.
If something is not going as planned in the lesson, I am able to
redirect the student and succeed in having a productive lesson.

My volunteering is forward-looking because it teaches important moral
values crucial to a functioning society. Compassion and love for
others is not something that can be learned without helping others,
so therefore I believe that volunteer work is forward-looking in that
it leads to a more progressive society. With my volunteering, I hope
to spread the message of love to society. We must learn to be more
selfless and to care about others, regardless of disabilities and
differences. Even if I came back to my volunteering decades from now,
I believe it would have made a difference since even though it is a
small organization, each life matters, and if just one volunteer
chooses to be compassionate, that compassion then spreads
exponentially to the students, and then the students spread
compassion to others and the cycle continues, making the whole duty
of volunteering meaningful to the community, society, and world.

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