Name: Lauryn-Maggie Arenee Smith
From: Saint Petersburg, Florida
School: Saint Petersburg Collegiate High School
In terms of volunteering, there is an extreme demand to give the care to
the community. To me, volunteer work is helping the incoming
generation learn to only be who they desire to be, and not what
societal expectations try to mold them into.
I have chosen to volunteer in youth art programs at Morean Arts Center
for Clay in their summer camp geared toward artistic freedom and
expression. I chose to volunteer here because I was always told that
pursuing art is not practical, and if I wanted any financial support,
that I couldn’t pursue a “free” profession. So, to be able to
tell children that they can be who they want and make what they want makes me feel like their
mindset will not immediately be corrupted.
On average, each week I volunteer for about 38 hours. Accumulating more
than 100 hours, I have satisfied my requirement, but I feel motivated
to continue volunteering. As a volunteer, my responsibilities include
encouraging students to sculpt and create artwork that they enjoy, in
addition to making sure that the final product is fired and glazed
the way they like it to be.
The biggest challenge as a volunteer is having to explain to certain students why they did not
receive any/much artwork back at the end of every week, due to its
density, causing it to explode. Seeing the devastated look on their
face that the work they put in so much effort into is destroyed is
heartbreaking. On the other hand, it is the most satisfying to see
the children’s faces after they have glazed their artwork after the
first firing, and when they see their final piece it is vibrant and
glossy, just in the form that the child expected it to be.
I have learned a lot from completing volunteer work. One of which is
the fact that encouragement is the greatest factor in making sure the
child is happy with themselves and their artwork when all is said and
One day, I hope to better explain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and
Schizophrenia in the practice that is better known as Neurological
Psychology. This field does not align with what I currently am doing
in my volunteer work, but having a sense of empathy and love for and
towards others will move me forward in what I hope to be my future
profession as well as in my volunteer work.
When I talk about “moving forward,” the first thing that comes to mind
is adaptation. I seek to change the idea that the incoming generation
has to be plagued and harassed by so many expectations that they lose
themselves and who they want to be by encouraging personal
To return in the future to see how my work has affected others, I
believe I would see more local artists being supported, and more
children being willing to express themselves, because my generation
pushed a movement forward that encouraged such a beautiful thing.