Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Changing The World Through The Next Generation

Name: Jacob R Lazarski
From: Kenosha, WI
Grade: Sophomore
School: Kenosha Christian Life School
Votes: 0

Volunteerism has always been one of the largest aspects of my life. My parents
taught me that, as a Christian living in the United States, I should
always spread the blessings that I have been given. At first, this
was the hardest aspect of volunteering. Why should I have to give up
my time to help those who can’t help themselves? It sounds selfish
looking back, but at the time, I was not in the right mind. It just
did not make sense to me. Then I read a verse in the Bible, James
1:27, which really put my mind at ease. “
that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit
orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained
from the world”. My time is a gift from God, and if I truly claim
to be a Christian, then I should be using that time to glorify God.
This is when everything clicked for me.

While all volunteer work is beneficial to society, one area has always
pulled on the strings of my heart: teaching the underprivileged youth
of the world. I have heard stories about how, when I was four, I
would listen to Michael W. Smith’s
Can’t Wait Any Longer in
an attempt to learn Swahili from the children singing. That love of
youth has carried on heavily into my highschool career. I travel to
Guadalajara, Mexico during my Spring breaks to teach the street
orphans soccer and, in between games, English. I have spent summer
breaks teaching English to orphans in Arusha, Tanzania as well as
teaching the Christian Gospel to orphans in Timisoara, Romania. I
have led all of my overseas trips as either a Senior Leader, a
Worship Band Singer, or as a Vacation Bible School teacher. This past
summer I changed my dynamic and stayed at home, working as a Camp
Counselor for the Salvation Army, where I helped mentor inner-city
youth from Chicago in an attempt to pull them from the grasps of the
Chicago gangs. I have spent roughly three thousand hours over the
past four years teaching, mentoring, and assisting the younger
generation. I would never change a second of it. The satisfaction of
knowing how much I can change a child’s life, how my actions have
the potential to completely alter the path that they will go down, is
what keeps me going.

In all of these experiences, one lesson remains, one glaring principle
that will stick with me until my last breath: I have been blessed so
that I can bless others. Not everyone’s calling will be children.
That is the beauty of Volunteer work. No matter what your interests
are, no matter where you come from or how much money you have, there
will always be a place for you to help. There will always be a need
to fill. That lesson cannot be taught through the pages of a book;
that knowledge is only gained through experience.

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