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Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – How To Use Time Wisely (With the Help of Some Cats)

Name: Emma Burstein
From: Eugene, Oregon
Grade: Sophomore
School: North Eugene High School
Votes: 0

Helping others is who I have always been, I can’t help it. (Get it?) From
people, to animals. My life isn’t complete if I’m not giving back
to my community. When I finally turned 12 years old and could start
to volunteer at the local animal shelter, Greenhill Humane Society,
my world did a 360- in a good way. I’m 15 now, and in the past
three years I’ve completed over 250 hours volunteering with the
animals. The feeling of pairing a shelter cat with its family will
never leave my heart. I feel so safe at Greenhill, surrounded by
loving adoptable animals in a no-kill shelter. When somebody comes
into the cattery, and a specific cat runs right up to rub against
them, I just know. Half an hour of paperwork later, both the human’s
and the cat’s lives are changed forever. I also love when a little
kid comes into the small animal room and I get to teach them all
about bunnies and what they eat, seeing their faces light up at the
bunnies’ noses twitching as they pat them for the first time.
Animals are the purest spirits and knowing that I’m making them
happy gives me a reason to keep going.

The only feeling that comes close to helping my town’s community is
helping my school’s community. From Key Club to mentoring freshmen,
and everything in between. Even if I can just give one hour of my
time, it’s worth it. There was one day when I finished all my
homework in class, so I went to the College and Career Center where
my mom was working. Her boss recruited me to help with outreach to
senior students’ parents to keep them aware of everything going on
senior year. I was so surprised how uninformed some were, and even
just telling them that their students can get scholarships made a
difference.

Even if it’s small things, imagine if everyone did these small things in
their communities. Imagining that is how I know that I’m truly
making a difference.


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