Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – A Little Goes a Long Way

Name: Nia Smith
From: Mastic, NY
Grade: 10
School: William Floyd High School
Votes: 46

For the past two years of my high school career, I have volunteered my
time into tutoring students at one of my local elementary schools. I
decided in my sophomore year to start tutoring due to my excellence
in rigorous courses and my desire to help others in the future.
Communicating with young children prepares me for pursuing my dream
career of working in a hospital, where one must have exceptional
social skills to help patients. I volunteered two days a week for one
hour each day throughout the entire school year.

As a tutor, my responsibility is to help children in grades Kindergarten
through fifth grade in improving his or her excellence in Math and
English. With the Common Core curriculum implemented in New York
State in the most recent years, it is often difficult for parents to
help their children because they don’t understand the new methods
of problem solving. This is where I come in to help. Being that I
have experienced the curriculum myself, I can relate to and connect
with the students I am assigned to and aid them in reaching for
success. However, my biggest challenge with this aspect of tutoring
is wording questions in a way that will make it easier for my
students to understand. I have been able to overcome this by asking
elementary school teachers for help and applying my new knowledge
into each session every week.

From volunteering, I have learned that a learning environment doesn’t
always have to be serious; throwing in occasional jokes with the
students has not hindered success at all. Also, I have realized that
community service is about enjoying what you are passionate about,
even if there isn’t always a reward at the end. Seeing a smile on
one’s face or even receiving a “thank you” occasionally is
always enough. Even if your work goes unnoticed, you should always be
proud that small actions can impact a life.

Through tutoring, my actions can be considered “forward looking” because
knowledge acquired from any student that is tutored can be passed
down to future generations. Additionally, essential skills such as
social and emotional skills are developed by both the tutor and the
student. Both feel more confident in personal abilities once the job
is done. To me, “forward looking” means completing actions in a
way that will benefit an individual in the future and prepare him or
her for setbacks. Through my actions, I hope that in the future, my
students will have less trouble in obtaining professional and/or high
paying jobs. If I were to look back at these activities as an adult,
I would say that my actions have made a difference. Being that
tutoring is becoming more prominent and more people dedicate free
time into helping education, I have no doubt that the future will
consist of nothing but impeccable students that will find the cure to
diseases or find solutions to the most difficult problems.

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