Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – The People of DC

Name: Marie Sequeira
From: Reston, VA
Grade: 10th
School: South Lakes High School
Votes: 0

People of DC

Community service is important because it allows me to help my community by using my own personal talents and skills. I live in the Washington, DC area along with my friends, family and the 1,000 people who are living on the streets or in homeless shelters. In this area in particular, our population is very diverse with all walks of life and I especially show interest in the people who are homeless.

My service started when I had to create a school project. I went to Washington, DC frequently and would bring homemade sandwiches, snacks and other goods that would make life a little bit easier for them, even if it was just a meal for that day. I would take pictures of the people I met and talked to and sometimes would even interview them about their lives. I enjoyed this so much that I shared it with friends and family through a blog I created. I had hoped that this would inspire people to help out their local homeless community. I now spend on average about 10 hours a month going into the city to bring food, clothes, and meeting new people.

I not only bring food and other goods to the homeless but I am also responsible for reaching out to my community personally through the media and my school in hopes of recruiting more people who would like to help by donating food and clothes. It is very hard for me to see so many people in my community struggle to survive, especially since I am surrounded by many people, including my friends, who have never had to apply for welfare, food stamps or any other government funding to help them live in our community.

My greatest satisfaction volunteering is knowing that even the simplest conversation can brighten up someone’s day. Sometimes these people just want is to be heard; to share their story so that others do not share the same fate, or just to talk to someone who won’t judge them for their current predicament. I have learned so much from people who have gone through so much in their lives like drug
addiction, family betrayal, mental and physical disabilities and other unfortunate events that caused them to be where they are, living on the streets and hungry.

I believe that small acts of kindness can help someone get back on their feet by providing them with the motivation to try to better their lives. People are so quick to judge others without even knowing their story and it is one of the most unsettling issues for me. My primary goal is to get more volunteers involved, to help get more people off the streets, and to provide the homeless with the tools to become working class citizens again. I have met incredible people who have taught me to be grateful for everything I have because someone out there wishes they had the opportunities and necessities we take for granted.

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