Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Obstacles

Name: Madison Alexandra Parks
From: New Castle, Delaware
Grade: 11th
School: William Penn high school
Votes: 0

Ever since I was a child I’ve always loved helping people, whether it
meant helping a fellow classmate on a math problem that was giving
them trouble or staying after class to help my teacher clean up. I
loved the feeling that I was making a difference. My first volunteer
experience was in second grade, when I was asked by my friend Kevin’s
aid to join him in a special Olympics event. Kevin was in a
wheelchair, and needed an assistant to help him with the basketball
activities they were doing at the event. While it was a very
enjoyable experience, I didn’t volunteer again until the beginning of
my junior year when I was again given an opportunity to volunteer at
a special Olympic event.


My second time volunteering at a special Olympics event I volunteered
for awards. I helped to arrange medals and ribbons for each group of
kids, giving them to the police officers who would present them. The
special Olympics was my first volunteer experience, and to this day
it’s my favorite. When my school holds the basketball event this
year, I plan to again volunteer. While it was my first and favorite
volunteer event, it was far from my last. Since my acceptance into my
high schools national honor society in January of this year, I’ve
completed 52 hours of community service. Many of these experiences,
such as a pancake breakfast and a local summer camp, were enjoyable
and rewarding in more than one way. But that wasn’t always true.


In the beginning of May, my schools honor society director coordinated a
volunteer opportunity with a local sports organization. The event was
a triathlon a state away, and it was scheduled on a day forecasting
low temperatures and rain. Nonetheless, I signed up, eager for the
experience. When we arrived, it was raining and there was little
areas with shelter. I had finish line duty, so it was hours before I
was able to fulfill my duties. With little to do, my group and I
walked around, helping other groups as much as we could. By the time
the athletes began to finish the race, we were all drenched,
shivering, and miserable. But seeing the look on the athlete’s faces
as they realized they’d gotten a new personal best or beaten the time
they were aiming for as they received the medals they’d worked so
hard for made me realize that the cold weather and rain were just
obstacles that the athletes and I both had to get through to get the
ending result. Even though I’d spent the majority of the day cold and
miserable, and I would’ve preferred if some of the mishaps of the day
(like a bus accident on the way home) hadn’t happened, I learned a
lot. Not everything comes easy, but by persevering in the end you
receive gratifying results. This was undoubtedly my most challenging
volunteer experience, but it was also the most rewarding.

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