Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – The YMCA Changed Me…For the Better

Name: Keyri Y. Moreira Ruiz
From: San Jose, CA
Grade: College Freshman
School: San Jose State University
Votes: 19

The first area I choose to volunteer in was with the Youth Art
program at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA. I thought it would be
a great experience to be exposed to a younger age group. At the YMCA,
I volunteered twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from five to seven
in the afternoons. In one month, I would normally volunteer for
approximately 16 hours weekly and in one year I completed 100 hours
due to school activities I was involved with. As a volunteer, I was
and Arts and Crafts teacher where I was responsible for entertaining
and educating the children in child watch for two hours while their
parents exercised at the gym. As a volunteer, I was responsible to
teach children guidance, socializing, sharing, patience, but most
importantly following directions. The biggest challenge I faced while
volunteering here was encountering shy children. As a volunteer, one
of my responsibilities was to help shy children break out of their
shell and learn to communicate with each other without being mean or
rude. This was a challenge because as a child, you are not aware of
what is going to happen if they behave a certain way or talk to
others around them which causes them to isolate themselves. The
satisfaction I was given as a volunteer was during the holidays when
I helped distribute food and toys to low income families. To see
tears of joy in their faces was self-gratifying. Before I became a
volunteer, I had a negative mentality toward small children. I
disliked them. Becoming an Arts and Crafts teacher I learned that
children are not bad at all. They are so innocent and full of energy
and joy.

Volunteering at the YMCA especially with young children is not in
alignment with my career goals. As a college student, my career goal
is to graduate as an Aerospace Engineer. Looking toward the future, I
see the volunteer work as “forward looking” because it will
eventually come in handy when I face a difficult situation where I
will need to guide myself and overcome the obstacle. “Forward
looking,” in my opinion means “What will be my next goal? What
will be my next move?” It is that ambition one has to obtain
something more that will improve their accomplishments.

The change I seek to foster in the world is more guidance. I think this is very
important because today, many teenagers are not being guided in the
right path. Growing up in a “not so nice” neighborhood, I’ve
encounter many different examples where teens joined a gang and
dropped out of school and their younger siblings are following the
same footsteps.

If I were to go back after several years, I think that my volunteer
actives would have made a difference because today, children are
missing out on what the true beauty of Arts and Crafts is. Today,
children are being poisoned by electronics given by their own
parents. Arts and Crafts teaches so much more.

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