Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Life Skills Volunteerism

Name: Krystal Hegg
Grade: 11
School: Rock valley College
Votes: 0

Life Skills Volunteerism

I had first started to volunteer because of college applications, but
then quickly realized it had much more value than I had originally
thought.  I had learned about my library’s Reading Buddies
Program, where you read to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, because I used
to be a “little buddy” that was read to when I was that
young.  This was important because I remembered how much it
helped me get out of my shell and realize that this program is a
fantastic thing to become more involved.  I wanted to return the
favor given to me by helping other children feel that sense of pride
when finishing their favorite book.  When I had stopped doing
Reading Buddies after five seasons, being over 100 hours, I pursued
other forms of volunteerism.

             I had done little volunteer activities at the local elementary schools
in my area, Polar Plunge, and Winnebago Forest Preserves.  It
was when I began volunteering at Gigi’s Playhouse that I had felt I
contributed the most.  I began literacy tutoring at Gigi’s
Playhouse in the Spring.  I had done this because before I was
born there was a suspicion that I had Down Syndrome and ever since my
family shared this information with me, I have always had more of a
soft spot in my heart for those who suffer from Down Syndrome.
Reading Buddies and Gigi’s occurred on Monday and Wednesday
every week.  I had participated in Reading Buddies after school
on Wednesdays.  I have just concluded with Gigi’s this summer
after having helped with teaching sign language.  Once that
program ended I started participating in literacy tutoring.  I
plan on volunteering with Gigi’s in the future because when you
participate with the regulars that come to Gigi’s, you form a
connection with them that makes you want to come back every week.
Volunteering at Gigi’s had its challenges.  The challenge
I am most proud to have overcome trying to get Michael, a student I
was tutoring literacy at the time, to believe he could read a novel.
He had always shut down and did not talk when I brought out a
book bigger than he was used to.  I still remember when he had
finally tackled a novel after me being persistent of telling him he
could do it and splitting up sections to alternate who reads.  The
following week Michael seemed so happy to read and instead of being
upset that he could not read a novel, he had actually brought his own
novel to read.  He did not give me a chance to read because he
was so excited about the book.

I have realized that volunteer work is more than just writing on a
college application.  If colleges did not care about
volunteering, I would still participate because almost nothing makes
you happier than seeing the smile on someone’s face because of your
help. There is always someone who needs help more than you do and for
that reason you can always offer your hand to assist them in their
pursuit for help.           

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