Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – The Most Powerful Lesson

Name: Nathaniel Thomas
From: Meridian, Idaho
Grade: 12
School: University of Utah
Votes: 0

The Most Powerful Lesson

During the summer of 2017, I flew to India to help support a volunteer
organization called Pratham. While I was there during my volunteer
internship, the other intern and I learned about the many struggles
the poor have to face. I had seen poverty a few times, but seeing the
living conditions first hand, and talking to those who were in these
situations was a very different experience. The interns were assigned
different tasks, ranging from finding the backgrounds of graduates in
one program, to creating Science experiments for kids from grades
1-5. The task of creating simple science experiments was a bit tough
given the limited number of resources that were available. Many
materials such as cardboard and superglue were not very common,
meaning that we had to improvise some designs to have successful
projects by using resources like bricks and clay. Even though this
was the case, we were able to design four experiments for the kids to
work on. From creating a tornado in a bottle, to playing with Ooblek,
to even building miniature bridges, it was clear that the children
enjoyed the activities, even if they appeared to be simplistic.

I learned a lot from this experience, not only about the poverty in
India, but also about myself. One of the main reasons it is important
to invest into one’s community is because such actions allow a
community to grow stronger together. Everyone has rough patches in
their lives due to sickness or natural disasters out of their control
and in those times people look for a helping hand. Sometimes it feels
like the world has given up on them, and when everything seems lost,
a volunteer’s hand and smile could give them the help and support
those families are in desperate need of. In addition, volunteering
can change a person’s outlook on the world and offer them a
perspective they might not have known existed. Seeing the world from
different perspectives allows one to better their own stance on
different issues present in the community and make an informed
decision about what they support and believe in. In the case of my
personal volunteering experience over the summer of 2017, my career
path to explore the medical field was reinforced when I met many of
the impoverished families who were too poor to afford medical
treatment from the nearby areas.

I have volunteered in various activities since around first grade and
can easily say that nothing compares to the satisfaction of teaching
children. Seeing such young and curious faces enjoy learning, and to
see their glowing faces as they learned about different aspects of
our amazing world is a blessing and memory that will always push
me forward in whatever I do. I am still helping the Pratham
organization, and plan to volunteer with them more in the future.
Volunteering for this organization and being a teacher to those
children was a very rewarding experience that I will treasure for the
rest of my life.

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