Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – Giving a Helping Hand

Name: Viridiana Damian
From: National City, CA
Grade: 11th
School: Sweetwater High School
Votes: 0

           Volunteering is when someone gives their time to an organization or cause for the common good and without any financial gain. When I lived in San Diego, CA there was a big problem with homelessness. When I volunteered at St. Vincent De Paul Village, they had a goal; their goal was to prevent and end homelessness one life at a time.During the holidays it would hurt me that I would see homeless on the street without any food or family, but people around me, would always tell me that this was “their fault that they’re homeless”. In my opinion, each and every person has a story. Helping people get off the streets and have a place to call home was my main goal.

I had heard about this organization through a very humble AVID teacher, Mrs.Tellez. She would let us know about any opportunities on community services that we could be interested in. There was usually a lengthy process just to get into volunteering. Thankfully when Mrs.Tellez would tell us about the opportunity, we would be able to get it quick, since we were students. Although I wasn’t able to do it all the time I was able to go one the holidays, usually when Thanksgiving came around. I would also get together with a friend and volunteer during the summer because we both had the same ambition; to change a life and help the less fortunate. As a volunteer, I was very thankful that I had a roof over my head. I saw people that I knew that went to my school, in which I had no idea was living a life where he was in and out of people’s homes, but you could have never guessed it by the way he was performing in school. He was on honor roll and had all AP classes.

One of the challenges I faced was seeing the homeless in my area there and this emotionally affected me. A lady that I had talked to before, decided to clean herself and look for a job, but it did not go too well for her, Although I tried not to show emotions, I would have to go outside sometimes and take a breath to control myself. I was mostly satisfied when everything would go as planned, by that I mean when we would be able to not run out of the “good food”. I would be extremely overjoyed when I would get a simple, “Thank you, may God bless you”, from the people that would go to St, Vincent de Paul Village. This experience helped shaped me be the person I am today because I was always taught to give back to the community that helped raise me. I loved being able to volunteer as not only a person who serves meals to those who are less fortunate, but I was able to make friends along the way; those who I would have never thought to be a friend of.

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