Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – My Commitment to Community

Name: Luke Sylvester
From: Ventura, CA
Grade: 11
School: Buena High School
Votes: 0

Leadership is an essential and necessary quality in life. Integrity, passion, commitment and dedication; these are the character traits that define a leader. In my daily life, I strive to uphold these values in my leadership roles. My experience as a leader in my local community has taught me a lot about myself and about how to be an effective team member.

My most notable leadership position has been with 4H. I am currently serving my fourth consecutive term as President of my local chapter. Under my leadership of the club, Briggs 4H has doubled our volunteer service to the community and has taken in more members than in any other previous year. Our largest community service project is our annual canned food drive. After organizing a relationship with my city’s local Rotary Club, Briggs 4H began to champion the Christmas Canned Food Drive for the Santa Paula Community. We now collect more than 1,000 cans annually to be delivered to Ventura County. Community service along with many other public initiatives has become a central pillar in my views on leadership and is something that I strive to bring to every club or organization that I join.

My time served as the Secretary, Vice President and President of the Ventura County Junior Fair Board (JFB) is exemplary of this pillar. Since Joining the JFB I have ardently sought out opportunities to create a fun and entertaining environment for my County. The JFB is a year round volunteer organization that overlooks and assists in the construction of the Ventura County Fair. As one of the largest fairs in California, this is no easy task. We tirelessly work to build our public relations with local businesses and within the community through social media and outreach. Once fully operational, the Ventura County Fair lasts for 16 days and admits about 17,000 people per day. As president of the JFB, it is my job to help organize community service opportunities and meetings so that the other members of JFB can carry out the duties necessary to produce a Family Friendly environment at the Fair. As President I also have to help manage the vendors at the fair, this includes concerts, concessions and amusement rides.

Since then I have also become a member of Habitat for Humanity and Red Cross. Through these organizations I have helped organize and lead projects to help destitute people and communities in my local area and around the world. One project that I’ve helped sponsor through Red Cross is Vaccinate a Village. Through this Project we were able to collect enough funds to vaccinate an entire village in Africa. With Habitat for Humanity I have also been to local builds where we, as a team, help to give back the community. At these builds, members generally help with home reconstruction for people living poverty.

I hope to continue my community service in college by actively seeking out leadership roles and organizations that will enable be to construct a group of dedicated people willing to serve others. I am eager to join the Student Government in college so that I can achieve this goal through my campus and my peers. I also hope to keep my affiliations with the Habitat for Humanity and Red Cross so that I can continue to become engaged in my new community.

Beyond college I also have plans to join the Peace Corps. I have been in contact with regional recruiters and have discussed my future plans to go serve abroad as a volunteer. With my background in Spanish, I hope to serve in Latin America in either the Peace Corps’ health or environment sectors.

I know that through my efforts I have improved and impacted my community for the better. I am very proud of my accomplishments as a leader and intend to use the skills that I’ve acquired from these positions to aid me in my academic life and in my personal life.

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