Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Not Just About The Hours

Name: Tyra Smith
From: Lake in the Hills, Illinois
Grade: 12
School: Huntley High School
Votes: 0

Tyra Smith

Youth Forward Scholarship

Not Just About the Hours

Fifty hours. Fifty hours is all you need in my high school to receive a
silver cord. Fifty hours to be recognized at the graduation ceremony
for your contribution to volunteering in our community. When I first
joined community service club in my freshman year of high school I
had the notion that I would get these fifty hours simply and it would
look great for college applications. I first joined community service
club for my own selfish reasons, not yet knowing that it would change
my life. Now, as a senior in high school who is ready to graduate in
a few short months, I have recently looked back at all my past
volunteering experiences. From a young, selfish girl to a young
selfless woman. I am grateful for the experiences volunteering has
given me, and what it has done to shape me into the person that I am

Being apart of community service club has allowed me to volunteer at not
only a large scale level, but a small scale one as well. No matter
the scale, the impact left behind from volunteer work is immense. I
have been fortunate enough to work with a variety of organizations
from Feed My Starving Children, to the teacher staff at my local
elementary school. As a volunteer, you are expected to balance a
multitude of responsibilities which at times can be a bit stressful.
Yet once you finally take off that apron or wave goodbye to the last
organization leader, the impact and change you made that day
outweighs all the stress that may have risen. Volunteering has taught
me patience and most importantly compassion. Compassion for others
that are less fortunate than you, compassion for the elderly whose
face light up and smile lines deepen when you visit them, and
compassion for the people right in your community who may be
struggling without you realizing.

Although each volunteer event leaves an everlasting brand on me, there is one
event in particular that I return to time and time again. Feed My
Starving Children is a organization that I will hold near and dear to
my heart for the rest of my life. Feed My Starving Children, which
works to package and distribute food to people in developing
countries, was the first volunteering event that made me realize that
I am making a difference. The very first time I volunteered there I
realized that little sixteen year old me was making a difference and
I fell in love with volunteering from that point on. Even though I
knew that I would not be acknowledged personally for my
accomplishments, that the children receiving the food would never
know who I was, I still felt like I had made a change in someone’s
life. That’s when I came to realize the true definition of
volunteering: to let go of selfishness and exude selflessness.

Volunteering has changed my life for the better. I am more compassionate and
giving than I have ever been in my life. I feel as though it is a
moral duty that we give back to our communities and to those that are
struggling. Because of community service club I have a passion to
make a change wherever I go in the world, whether big or small. Two
major goals in my life is to one, visit a developing nation and do
volunteer work on the ground, and two, provide my contribution to
help stop/prevent child sextrafficking. The only way to make change
in this world for the better is through helping hands.

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