Name: Paul Nicholas Silva
From: Houston, Texas
Grade: Freshman in College
School: Houston Community College Honors College
I have volunteered for the past 3 years at the Center for Hearing and
Speech in Houston, Texas. I volunteer over the summer for a camp
called “Project T.A.L.K.” which is a summer camp for the kids who
attend this school that have hearing and speech impediments. The camp
only lasts one week during the summer, but it takes a few weeks of
preparation and a lot of work to set up. It took about 40 hours total
volunteer service over the course of each summer. Within the past two
years I have been promoted to Lead Teen Volunteer, so I oversee some
new volunteers and help in detail with the setup for the week.
My biggest challenges as a volunteer was taking care of the numerous children we
had, grades ranging from kinder to second grade. But, my biggest
challenge is also my favorite part. I come back every year to see the
smile on these kids’ faces light up. A lot of them have a tough
time at home and with life in general. They have to attend this
special school during the school year because a typical public or
private school wouldn’t have the same support systems.
Since volunteering at the Center for Hearing and Speech, I have come to the realization
of the blessing that not only I possess, but also my loved ones.
Sometimes we take for granted the basic qualities we have in life,
when really a lot of children and adults in the world have to live
their entire life with a device on their ear or head to allow them to
speak and hear properly.
My career interests align pretty well with my volunteer focus. My goal is to
complete the 5 year accounting program at university to graduate with
my masters and take the CPA exam so I can work with a mid-size
non-profit organization such as the Center or the Lighthouse of
Houston, which provide equipment and volunteer labor to prepare meals
to raise funds for charitable organizations and those in need.
Looking into the future, I aspire to make a change in awareness of these other
organizations that many people overlook. There is a great need in
funds and care for these schools and organizations, which support
children in need who can’t properly live life without the correct
In twenty to thirty years I can definitely see the work that my team and I have put into
our volunteer efforts to help. Any help, small or large, benefits
these kids so much. For a lot of them, Project T.A.L.K. is something
they look forward to all summer because they don’t receive the same
attention, fun, or even food at home since many of their families
can’t afford support devices and basic food on their own. This week
is the only time they can get away from their life at home, drop
their worries, and just have fun with their friends.