Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Giving Back

Name: Tiara Wright
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Grade: Freshman In College
School: John Marshall, HS
Votes: 0

I was very fortunate to grow up in a house that believed in
volunteering, and the power of giving back. My mom was a working mom,
who was heavily involved in the church and my dad was a factory
worker who grew up very poor. My dad’s Christmas gift growing up
were oranges and apples. Both my parents taught us to appreciate how
lucky we were, and to know even though we might not get everything we
want, there was always more people less fortunate than us.

One Christmas, I remember that my sister and I were both upset about the
number of presents we received under the Christmas tree. We were so
upset, that we carried on the entire holiday, even to the family
dinner. My mom had enough, she put all of our new presents in a
garbage bag. My sister and I were so confused, where did she think
she was taking our presents to? After the presents were loaded into
the car she loaded us in the back seat, by this time we were both
crying. My mom drove us Downtown to a homeless shelter. There were a
bunch of kids in a Hall playing, with crayons and coloring books, she
whispered to us , “ this is their Christmas, give them your gifts”.
We obeyed. By the time, we each gave our last gift, an appreciation
for our home, came upon both of us. As we walked to the car, I
grabbed my mom and gave her the biggest hug. I knew that a great
lesson was learned that Christmas, I didn’t know that mom was going
to keep that holiday tradition going. Every holiday, Thanksgiving,
4th of July, Valentine’s Day and so on and so forth, we would serve
food at the homeless shelter, the exact same food we were eating. It
didn’t matter if we had Prime rib or BBQ, they ate what we ate.

Being a volunteer, taught me above humility. It gives me a perspective that
there is a world outside of mine, that may not be a pretty, but it’s
there and not to be ignored. I have also learned responsibility, to
render my times, services and abilities to the less fortunate. I
would always help serve the food my family brought. Their smiles,
their eyes, and their faces were so full of gratitude it couldn’t
be contained. It made me feel proud, of my family, especially my
parents, they taught us to give back to others, and the power of
gratitude. We were regulars among the homeless community over the
years countless hours were spent with them. I loved when certain
members of the communities learned our names. Now, that I am a mom i
have instilled the same thing in my daughter, she is more than
willing to take her toys to the kids in the hall, and she likes to
give hugs too.

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