Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Types of Talking

Name: Jamie Silfen
From: Hewlett, New York
Grade: 11
School: Hewlett High School
Votes: 0

Without a doubt, volunteering is an important thing to do. From a first
person’s point of view on adolescents, being one myself, a lot of
people my age like to go out to parties, hang out with friends or
lock themselves in their rooms, and become slaves to their cell
phones, televisions, or computers. While I am guilty of doing such
things, I will never say no to volunteering to attend some social
gathering that will not not matter the next day, because volunteering
lasts a lifetime. I found that it builds character and is very
rewarding. While my school does encourage volunteerism, it is not
required for graduation. My high school offers a chord at graduation
if the student has thirty or more hours of volunteering for each year
of high school. I wanted to do that, but exceed it as well. So I
normally would not stop at thirty. In the past I have volunteered for
the local library, for my school’s environmental club, key club, and
an office; but what I found most rewarding was volunteering with
children who are on the autistic spectrum. The reason is because I
have an older brother with autism. While he has a very good life full
of friends and family who love him, I just cannot help but think how
much he has missed out because of his autism. He is completely
verbal, one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, and is
capable of doing anything he sets his mind to, but still never goes
to regular classes, even though he is nineteen, and must be assisted
in social places and watched constantly in case he wants to drift
away. I am very limited as to what I can do because autism is not
curable, but helping others seemed like a wonderful opportunity for
me.

I have volunteered at two different organizations that revolved around
the same concept; one called “Kulanu”, which translates in
English to “we are together,” every Sunday from nine in the
morning to twelve in the afternoon, and the other organization is
“Friendship Circle,” which was for five hours a day, over a
three day span, during my winter break. I got to interact with the
kids and go on field trips with them. My biggest challenge was making
sure the child I was shadowing was in my vision. Most of the children
are non verbal, so communication was never key in our relationship,
which means that if they got lost in a public place, they would not
know how to ask for help.


This position has helped me realize that autism ranges and no person
has the same autistic outcome. Looking into my ideal future, I see
myself as a social worker because I want to help people on an
emotional level. This position has allowed me to learn how to foster
a newer type of communication with people who aren’t so keen on
speaking, either through body language or facial expressions.


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