Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Giving My Time, the Most Important Gift

Name: Karen Vandervort
From: Bloomington , Illinois
Grade: High school sophomore
School: Homeschool
Votes: 0

I was so lucky to be able to volunteer at my local church to be an
instructor for religious education for several years during my high
school career. I got to spend time every week with grade school
children, helping them with their lessons, telling them about Jesus,
and trying to set a Christian example that these children would want
to follow. For two hours every Tuesday afternoon, I had the chance to
help kids from different schools and backgrounds have fun while still
forming their faith and knowledge. Religion is the cornerstone of my
life and, I believe, the most world changing aspect when it comes to
peace within our schools, within society, and across the borders and
oceans. Many forget that our great nation was forged from the
concepts of Christianity, with principles of freedom, of greatness,
and of peace. As I look around at the world we live in, it is not
hard to find inhospitality, aggression, and fearfulness. I have
devoted my time to reminding society to begin again sharing their
gifts, striving for unity, and choosing kindness, all key principles
of Christianity. I want to do all I can to remind society of the
importance of good works and peace. This is why I have chosen to
devote a significant amount of my time to the formation of
Christianity for the children of my parish. Volunteering here has
been a blessing for me and for those I encounter. For one semester I
had the privilege to tutor a girl with a severe learning disability.
Aiding this student with her lessons was often a challenge; however,
there was no greater joy for me than when I finally saw the look of
understanding come across this student’s face, or when she no
longer required my help with a certain lesson. I felt enormously
blessed to be able to demonstrate patience and encourage growth. By
the recommendation of the Director for Religious Education, I was
appointed to tutor three special needs students over the years. After
my parents’ jobs moved out of the state, I was worried I would not
have the opportunity to serve my parish any longer. I was not to
worry, as I have found opportunities to serve my new community
through the gift of my talents and time. Administering to the people
of my community through my local church has been one of the best
experiences of my life. I am able to help a great many people, and I
have been able to see firsthand the kindness of others.

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