Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – Youth Ministry Teaches You Too!

Name: Paul Ruger
From: Saratoga Springs, NY
Grade: 11
School: Saratoga Central Catholic High School
Votes: 0

Ministry Teaches You Too!

            To volunteer is to dedicate yourself to others. I’ve volunteered in many capacities before, but the one which I spend the most amount of time is with youth ministry. I work with youth of many different faiths, and my goal is to make them aware that their faith is not just something that they do, but part of who they are. It is their identity, and they should never let anyone make them think otherwise.

             I spend around five hours a week volunteering, however, if it is a week where I conduct a retreat, I spend an extra two hours planning the retreat and then six hours conducting the retreat, bringing the weekly total to thirteen hours a week. As a volunteer, I am
responsible for keeping up with the youth whom I minister to, and making sure that if they are enduring any hardships, I identify the
cause and work with them to find a solution.

            My biggest challenge as a volunteer is when I unable to empathize with others. I haven’t had many hard dealings in my life, and even though I have learned from the situations of others, I am still sometimes at a loss for creative solutions. Eventually I get things
sorted out, but it is always a challenge finding the words and motivation at first. At the same time, this has given me the greatest
satisfaction as a volunteer. To know that you helped someone through a difficult time, be it in their daily life or in their spiritual life, is very satisfying.

This is also one of the areas from which I’ve learned the most. I’ve learned what emotional signs mean what, and how to deal with certain situations. There will always be a unique situation that I’ve never run across before, but like I’ve always done in the past, I work through it.

            My career goal is to receive a Master’s in Business Administration, which contrasts greatly with mu volunteer work. Who would expect someone who is a “miser of business” to care for the individual person. The answer, in a word, is nobody. I hope to one day be that figure who is looked up to for running a successful business but ones who employees are treated fairly and with the respect they deserve. I see this idea as the epitome of “forward looking” since the majority of corporations today care for nothing but the bottom line.
This may mean less of a profit, but there is no greater profit than seeing people enjoy their work and their workplace. This is exactly
the change I hope to foster with my volunteer activities, and no matter how small my impact is, it will still be an impact.

             Indeed, I think that I was to come back in ten, twenty, or even thirty years, I think my volunteer activities would have made a difference. I am not one to estimate how much of a difference, but a difference nonetheless – I am sure of that.

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