Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – Hearts of Hope for Hopeless Children

Name: Monica Alize Ramirez
From: Yorktown, Virginia
Grade: high school junior
School: Regent University
Votes: 0

There are children in the world who have been deserted, given up on, and
abused in traumatic ways. Foster care statistics show that there are
approximately 428,000 children in the foster care system on any given
day. I grew up in a single parent home with fears that one day I
would be separated from both of my parents and my siblings. For this
reason, I dedicated the summers of my sophomore, junior, and senior
year to volunteering at the Homes of Hope Adoption Agency. Soon I had
delved into an unforgettable and life altering experience. I knew
that these young children needed to feel loved, wanted, and safe so I
offered those things. My responsibilities as a volunteer were very
acceptable and physically simple. I monitored water slides and pools,
I ensured the safety of the children by making sure none of them left
the premises, and I helped serve food at lunch time.

Being a volunteer means so much to me and I continue to engage in it
despite the challenges because I don’t like the idea of waiting for
someone else to take the stand and do the very thing that I could and
should be doing. The greatest challenge I have experienced within the
past few years volunteering at the adoption agency is making
memorable connections with beautiful children whose lives will
continue, with an immense chance of me never hearing from them again.
It’s heartbreaking because in those moments I am giving them the
time of their life and they become so vulnerable and carefree, but
they have to go back to being “foster children” when they leave
the building. However, it’s spiritually rewarding to be able to
show those children that they are special and I find an irreplaceable
satisfaction in that. Through volunteering in this way, I have
learned that children are more precious than we ever know and that
their lives should be treasured.

I am going into my first year of college majoring in Psychology. I
believe that my volunteer experiences played a major role in the
decision of my major, because my desire is to become a counselor for
children and teens who have endured family crises and traumatic
events. I see my activities as forward-looking because they are a way
to tend to the feelings and needs of children who struggle
emotionally and mentally with the chaos they are experiencing at home
or within themselves. We’ve all heard the “not everyone is meant
to be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child” phrase,
so my hope is that a plethora of people stand in the gap for foster
children and help make their lives feel worthwhile in the midst of
the storm. If I were to come back in a decade or two I firmly believe
that my volunteer experiences would have made a difference in the
lives of the children I profoundly impacted, the volunteer team I
worked with, and in my own life.

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