Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – My Gift to the Community

Name: Gabriella "Bella" Stroup
From: Davie, FL
Grade: 9th Grade in Fall, 2016
School: Nova Southeastern University School
Votes: 29

My Gift to the Community

By Bella Stroup

Pablo Picasso once said: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The
purpose of life is to give it away.” My mom was 13 when she got
pregnant with me and my Dad wanted nothing to do with me. I went
into foster care and was adopted by a loving family. Growing up as a
little girl I had a hard time understanding my life. I knew where I
was. I knew who I was with, but it was a difficult journey to
understand who I was as a person. I had a rough start in life, but
to my surprise, it was all for a reason and truly a blessing in

I’ve always been someone who motivated easily. For example, I’d watch the
news with my adoptive Dad and instantly be inspired to try to
contribute to make a change. I remember sitting on the couch with
him and writing letters to the President about any plight I had seen
on the news that night.

When I was 10 years old, I started giving back by singing and telling my
story at Children’s Home Society (CHS) fundraising events. I can’t
tell you how amazing it feels to perform in front of hundreds of
people that are donating to the charity that changed my life. Last
year, I helped break the record for the most money raised, $120,000,
at a single CHS event!

When word spread that I would share my gift, I was invited to sing for
charities such as Gilda’s Club Cancer Support Society, American
Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and ChildNet Care for Kids. Those
organizations were all amazing and I will never forget them. I sang
to cancer survivors and healthcare workers for National Cancer
Survivors Day. It was awesome to sing, make a speech and hear their
survival stories. I also sang for the ABWA Woman of the Year Awards.
I have been touched by every charity that I have helped and will
never be able to put into words how incredible it feels to offer my
services at these events and know that they raised over $300,000 for
our community.

Children’s Home Society has had the biggest impact on me as a young woman
growing up because going to all their events and sharing my adoption
story has given me closure. Knowing that I can help other children,
just like me, to better their futures amazes me. Even though the
money donated to CHS can’t change the terrible experiences that the
children have been through, it changes their futures just like it
changed mine. I was a little girl that had no one to give me anything
that I needed. My entire world changed the night I got rescued and
taken into custody to Children’s Home Society. I’m beyond
grateful for every organization that I have volunteered for. If we
didn’t have these organizations, I don’t know what we do.

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