Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – A Study in Light

Name: John Markham
From: Deland, Florida
Grade: College Freshman
School: Daytona State College
Votes: 0

Volunteerism is a powerful thing, not only for the people for receiving help, but
also for the people doing it. That statement may be more than a
little cliché, but being overused doesn’t make it any less true. I
truly believe in that, and I’ve felt the joy that comes from
volunteerism in my church. I initially volunteered there because it
was expected and I needed service hours (pragmatism is a powerful
force), however I kept doing it because I came to love helping
people.

I’ve served anywhere from four to ten hours a week, in a variety of roles.
I’ve been a youth leader, a teacher, a cleaner, and a great number
of other things. The one that sticks out to me the most though, the
one where I had the most frustrating, but also most satisfying
experience, is when I served as a literacy coach.

There was a young man in our congregation who couldn’t read. He was
receiving help at school, but it didn’t seem to be enough, so we
began to work with him on improving his reading. It was frustrating
for me to teach him because I’m not precisely a man of few words
(or small words, for that matter) so I had to learn to simplify. It
was also frustrating because we (a group of coaches) quickly became
me. I had to handle the situation by myself for most of the time. In
spite of this, it was probably my best experience in volunteerism.
With each letter he recognized, with each word he learned, I saw an
increasing light in him. He became a quicker thinker and I came to
understand the great value of a teacher. Through that experience, I
learned patience, brevity, and sympathy, all of which were necessary
lessons for someone like me.

I think that each and every volunteering opportunity I took was
“forward looking.” Forward looking to me, is when you choose
activities with your future in mind and honestly, I think that every
experience I had taught me something valuable for the future. I
believe that nothing is wasted if you’ll learn from it.

As far as change goes, I want to see a world where people help one
another. It’s simple, but everyone was willing to assist another
person, our world would become a better place overnight. Often the
simplest dreams are the best ones.

One wise man once said that “little things are great things” and
that’s a true statement. The volunteer work I’ve done may be a
small contribution in the grand scheme of things, but when we add up
all our efforts to better the world we do make a difference. The
world does change because of little things adding up to great and
beautiful changes.


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