Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – For the Kids

Name: David Aguirre
From: Austin, TX
Grade: Sophomore
School: University of Texas at Austin
Votes: 0

Children are an empty canvas ready to create beauty in the world. This is the vision
I had when I began to invest in the lives of students and children
within the Austin area, sharing the lessons I have learned through
mentors. However, what I didn’t realize is how beautiful they would
make my life in return. I have been able to get involved in mentoring
in three major ways this year. First I directly mentored middle
school students at Sci Tech Preparatory in South Austin.

Sci Tech serves primarily students who would be first generation college students,
and pushes them apply and excel in college. As the school’s first
student mentor I was able to make weekly visits and apply what I
learned in the college and financial application process to work with
a group of middle school students to develop their passions and excel
in class work in order to make a college education a reality. I had
the opportunity to encourage students, like Johnathan, an eighth
grader, who want to go to college to learn graphic design to develop
video games, but meets financial obstacles as he uses his breaks and
weekends from school to work in his parent’s shop to bring extra
money into the house. I helped him realize that in spite of his
financial difficulties college is an obtainable goal rather than a
distant dream.

Additionally, I volunteer weekly with children who are in residence at Dell
Children’s Medical center. Every Thursday I would visit the
hospital as a part of Students Making Impact Through Love and Empathy
(S.M.I.L.E.) to entertain and play with the kids there. In doing so I
was able to help bring smiles to the kid’s faces, but also learn so
much about their journey, courage, and the hope they have for the
future. Stories like Matthew’s, an eight year old kid who greeted
me with a blood stained smile, but beautiful none the less. He has
dreams of being able to run outside regardless of his current
struggle of not being able to walk the 30 feet back to his room
without nearly fainting from exhaustion.

Stories like this inspired me to be a part of the Brave the Shave committee this year
to help children reach their full potential. We hosted 5th annual
Brave the Shave event at UT where we were able to a raise a record
breaking $100,138 to fund pediatric cancer research through the St.
Baldrick’s Foundation. Over 150 people, including myself, shaved
our heads in support of pediatric cancer patients.

When I look forward, I see these kids and their futures. Forward
looking to me means that when these kids look to the future they see
more opportunity than they did yesterday. That is my goal in
volunteering is to encourage them to pursue what they love, and
inspire them to invest in others through mentoring or volunteering to
keep the cycle going.

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