Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – A process for Progress

Name: Mellissa Valdez
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Grade: 11
School: Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Votes: 0

Mellissa Valdez

July 25, 2018


A Process for Progress

There had to be a reason why my father passed away when I was nine years
old. “Forward-looking” means to be prepared for the circumstances
that life throws at you. Taking this into consideration, I learned
that my past experiences were made to make me a stronger person.

Out of all the places that I can volunteer at, I decided to volunteer at
the Veterans Affairs hospital (VA). I chose to volunteer at this
specific hospital because my father lost his life as a retired navy
seal. Although I strive to major in the nursing field when I enter
college, I decided to volunteer in the physical therapy and
laboratory department. As a youth volunteer, I was given
responsibilities that not only forced me out of my comfort zone but
also provided me with experience in the medical field. In the
physical therapy department, I was given the task to change linen,
sanitize bed stations, and call patients for scheduling. In the
laboratory department, I had to sort out blood and urine specimen. I
have been volunteering at the VA hospital ever since the summer of my
sophomore year. Every summer I would strive to reach at least 150
hours. Every summer is a new experience and I try to reach more hours
than the previous year.

Although this experience has given me the opportunity to grow, there were
quite a few challenges that I had to face. Excluding the
thirty-minute delay of traffic, my biggest challenge as a volunteer
was forcing myself out of my comfort zone. Before this volunteer
experience, I lacked confidence in myself. My supervisor probably
noticed and as a result, my first task was to yell “Chemistry,
ER, STAT!” in front of a group of phlebotomists. Towards the end
of my volunteer experience, I learned how to gain confidence in
myself. Overall, I was most satisfied with my growth from the
beginning of my sophomore year until now.

The passing  of my father has influenced me to major in the medical field.
Entering high school, I was indecisive about what I wanted to major
in college. This experience confirms my decision, I want to major in
the nursing field. Volunteering isn’t a hobby for everyone. A lot
of my friends would ask why I put in the effort if I wasn’t
benefiting financially. Every summer my ultimate goal was to give
back to the veterans that served our country. Even if the task was
simply to wheel a patient to the parking lot.

My service is considered as “forward-looking”. This experience
has exposed me to the different majors in the medical field, which
will benefit me in the future. Volunteer activities were not made for
financial benefits but were made for the experience. I made a
difference because some of the veterans didn’t have family to
visit them. I was a youth volunteer that treated the veterans like my
father and gave them company.


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