Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Extended Hand

Name: Elaine Massey
From: San Diego, California
Grade: 11
School: Charter School of San Diego
Votes: 0

At a young age, I moved in with my aunt and since then, I have learned
more and more each day to be as selfless as I can be. There are
people out there who, as soon as they find out they need something
“extra” on their resume, go above and beyond to come out
looking like the best. I mean lets be honest here. Most, if not all,
people want to have that added help to get them one step closer to
their dreams. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t completely pumped
that helping out on my spare time would benefit me in more ways than
one. But in all seriousness, lending an extra hand is so much more
than that. It makes my day, if not whole life, a lot better when I
know I am doing something good for those in need.

When I was in the fourth and fifth grade, I would stay in an after school
program. My aunt and I found out that the school lunches that were
left over were being tossed out at the end of the day. Despite the
weird looks we received from people questioning why we had bags of
wrapped up sandwiches and pints of milk, we continued to take them
with us each day. We would walk around Downtown, San Diego and hand
them out to the homeless people that would rest in front of the
public library and post office. While only being nine years old, you
would think I would be a little spooked out interacting with
strangers. I wasn’t, though. Doing so made me feel so good about
myself when I would go home at night. It made me realize how grateful
I was no matter what was going on in my life.

Once I entered middle school, I began working with a shelter. At Rachel’s
Women’s Center, I would serve lunch to homeless women alongside my
aunt every Monday afternoon that I had the day off from school. The
feeling of knowing my actions can change someone’s day will stick
with me for a lifetime. I am able to say “I helped.” I
continued to do volunteer work with the center up until the 10
grade, but unfortunately, my school and work schedule took over.
Though I can no longer physically help, I make sure that I donate my
clothes to the center that I don’t have a need for but know could
help someone else out.

Over the past eight and a half years, I have become a better person
because of the actions I have taken to help out my community and from
these experiences, I know that it doesn’t end here. I will continue
to lend and extend my hand to impact my community and society in the
best way that I can.

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