Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – Improving the Environment

Name: Samantha
From: Oakton, VA
Grade: Sophomore (Senior in 2017-2018)
School: Oakton High School
Votes: 0

In our modern-day world, too many people are unaware of their footprint on the
environment. These people pollute unnecessarily, which destroys our
environment little by little until a little becomes a lot. Those who
are aware of the affects that humans have on the environment need to
educate those who do not. Those who are aware need to educate our
community, our state, our nation, and our world.

Since freshman year, I have been part of the Oakton Environmental
Club. Until I was elected as the Activities Officer my junior year,
the club focused on educating us instead of taking action. I had
many new ideas of how the club could volunteer. Previously, I had
already joined the Northern Virginia Bluebird Trail, which submits
information to the Smithsonian. The Bluebird Trail started out to
increase the bluebird population in the area. I setup two bluebird
birdhouses for bluebirds to start families in. I collected data on
the bluebirds and helped them survive throughout their visit to the
birdhouses in our backyard. Volunteering in this program caused me
to realize that I wanted to do lead more programs to help the
environment in high school, which is why I applied to be the
Activities Officer for the environmental club. By being elected to
be the Activities Officer, I have been able to give the club members
more opportunities to help the environment with me.

After being elected, I felt that I had a responsibility to be more informed about
environmental volunteer opportunities in the area since the members
depended on me. Therefore, I spent more time on finding
environmental opportunities, which caused me to spend more time in
programs that I organized. I spent an average of 2 hours each week
to organize and participate in activities for the club. Before I
brought my school club into my volunteer activities, I found
satisfaction in simply helping out. However, once I brought others
to the activities with me, I became much more satisfied by my work
because I was the cause of many people volunteering, which caused
much more volunteer work to be done than if I was working alone.

My biggest challenge through environmental volunteering was finding big enough
organizations for the club to take part in once I became an officer.
I was used to finding small programs that I could do with only a few
friends. However, once I found some larger organizations, my job
became much easier because their events usually repeated monthly.

After being an Activities Officer for the environmental club for a whole year, I
have learned that helping others volunteer along with myself is much
more rewarding than working alone. Before I took this position, I
would see volunteer work as a personal activity, which seemed like
enough. But now I know that seeing a large group of people
volunteering together because of me is much more rewarding since I
know that I am the cause of much more volunteer work being completed.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".