Name: Destiny Henderson-Hudgins
From: San Diego, California
Education is the key to human progress, it inspires people to do great things that may have seemed impossible at one point. I have always loved learning, but even then I think I took for granted the real power of education for a long time. I started to realize its true importance around the age of ten, but I never realized its true potential and fulfillment until I was 15 years old. I’ve volunteered all over the place since childhood, from babysitting to serving military veterans, but none of these truly touched me on a personal level like being a camp counselor did. It might seem ridiculous, but it was the most the most difficult, exciting, stressful, and fun thing I had done since I was a dancer.
My first experience as a camp counselor was at a Chinese Summer Camp. I knew my Mandarin wasn’t that great, but when I heard those kids who were only around seven years old (the oldest being ten), speaking circles around me, I learned that despite my age I knew no better about mandarin than they did about graphing quadratic functions. This opened my mind to the idea that everyone had different experiences and no one is truly dumb or an idiot. Everyone has their own experiences and knowledge, and even though I knew this, this fact never really resonated with me until I was a camp counselor.
Recently I joined the Chula Vista Living Coast, and so far I’ve completed 10 hours and am committed to continue working them before I go off to college. Hopefully, I can start docent training when they start. I teach people about animals based on the exhibits I watch. So far my favorite is the shark and ray exhibit. I really love volunteering here, because not only do I get the chance to teach people of all ages, but I also get to get up and close with what I want to do as a career. I want to become a Marine Biologist and study siphonophores and sharks, and this experience has only strengthened my passion for my future career.
My biggest challenge as a volunteer has been watching people, especially kids. It’s very easy to get side tracked and not notice people who are breaking important rules. One of the most memorable moments in my volunteer career was when a kid pulled out a gallon bag of peanuts and got peanut on a whole lot of surfaces where other kids with peanut allergies might touch or go to. I wiped down each surface, but there was this prevalent fear that someone might get hurt. Luckily, nothing happened. Even with these challenges they definitely come with many rewards.
If I could change or teach anything and hope to inspire anything in people of all ages it’s that it’s ok to be wrong and how to be open-minded to what others think and say. Nowadays there is so much separation because people disagree so violently, I would love it if I could foster the idea that when you argue with someone you must be open-minded to their opinions. I’ve got to admit I still have trouble with that, but if people could find that common understanding I feel like the world would be a better place. I hope that I whatever I was able to teach someone, adult or child inspired them to learn more and join either me or others in a scientific field. If not I wish that I inspired a love for learning that I’ve always had since I was a child.
I love seeing people smile and that I am making a difference. I feel like there is no greater feeling than knowing that you changed
someone’s life for the better. Sometimes it’s not immediate, but when it happens, it is the core reason why I do what I do. To me, this is
“forward-looking.” The chance and the willingness to pass on what you know to others, whether it is science or just a knot you know how to tie it can all affect how someone may succeed and effect society, hopefully for the better.