Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – How Giving Back Gave Back To Me

Name: Abby Tickle
From: North Charleston, South Carolina
Grade: 10th
School: Academic Magnet High School
Votes: 0

I have participated in many community service activities such as
handing out water at marathons, volunteering at a nursing home, and
picking up trash on the beach. While I found each of these extremely
gratifying, one activity in particular influenced me much more than
any other: tutoring. I started tutoring my freshman year for a middle
school student who was a friend of our family’s. She needed some
help studying for her English and Math classes, and I was more than
happy to do it. We worked in the afternoons between school and soccer
practice, and after spending only one month with this student, her
test scores had already improved dramatically. I realized she had it
in her all along and just needed a little nudge in the right
direction. Seeing how happy this made her truly touched me and I
realized that giving my time and knowledge enriched not only her life
but mine as well. This was my first experience tutoring, and I was
already hooked! After being inducted into the Spanish National Honors
Society, I started tutoring during lunch and after school at a local
elementary school where very few students know how to speak English.
During my junior year, I started a club called Youth Education in
Science, or YES club. YES club was founded on the ambition to
implement higher level science ideas into elementary and middle
school students curricula so that these students would be more
prepared for high school science courses. Changing an entire
curriculum seemed a little out of reach, so I decided instead to
focus on after school programs with labs and activities that the
students would find enjoyable while also sneaking in some scientific
experience. Since my career aspiration is to be a veterinarian, YES
club proved to be very profound and meaningful to me. When I wasn’t
helping out with YES club, I continued to tutor free of charge to
young students in my area. In one particular instance, a young boy
was having a hard time reading and even remembering the basic sounds
of letters. I noted that he was very far behind other students his
age and grade level, so I decided to do some research. After doing
some independent research and speaking with a special education
teacher, I realized that this student fit all of the qualifications
for dyslexia. It took all of my courage to bring it up to his parents
(I was just a volunteer tutor after all). Instead of being upset,
they listened to what I had to say and took the next steps to get the
extra services he needed. Because this issue was identified early, he
was able to adjust rather quickly and catch up to his classmates. The
feeling of satisfaction when you know you have helped someone in a
meaningful way is unlike anything else–I found that in most cases I
gain much more than I give. Giving to others has become an
inextricable part of who I am.

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