Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – The Wonders of Volunteering

Name: Angelina Addams
From: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Grade: 9th grade (in 2017-2018 I'm a junior)
School: Greenwood High School
Votes: 0

Before moving to
Bowling Green, Kentucky from El Paso, Texas my sophomore year of high
school, my favorite place to volunteer was the Gene Roddenberry
Planetarium. It was a place where I was able to go twice a month and
escape to the stars, taking me far away from the vast amount of
schoolwork, allowing me to still be able to do something to give back
to my community.

The man who led the
planetarium shows allowed the volunteers to help with a number of
things; leading people to their seats, greeting people at the
entrance, taking down old displays and replacing them with new ones,
showing children how to use telescopes at local elementary schools.
However, my favorite of the planetarium duties was controlling the
light and soundboards. All of the equipment was in the middle of the
planetarium, and had the appearance of a spacecraft from the outside,
but on the inside there was an overwhelming amount of computers,
switches, and levers that controlled the planetarium show. The very
first time I volunteered there, the other volunteers cast the
daunting responsibility onto me, forcing me to quickly catch on to
how to run the show.

One of the most
rewarding parts of volunteering was being around a passion of mine,
astronomy, and getting to learn everything I could about it, while
sharing the experience with my community. One of my biggest successes
was when we took telescopes out to an elementary school and showed
the children constellations and studied the moon. All of the kids
were enthusiastic about each new thing we pointed out to them and had
smiles that were brighter than the stars.

By becoming one of
the volunteer leaders, I learned that it is possible to be
passionate about helping out in your community. While space has
always been a passion of mine, I’m not sure that it would be
something for me to pursue in my future. Despite this, it does not
make my volunteering experience any less influential on my life. It
allowed me to explore new possible careers for my future, and taught
me that almost everything in this world is a team effort. I wouldn’t
have been able to succeed as much as I had without the help of my
fellow volunteers. “Looking forward” I will be more mindful and
respectful towards the people I work with.

I do hope that my
volunteering has sparked some sort of interest about astronomy in the
minds of people in the community. By teaching astronomy to the young
people in the community, it is possible that I may have helped lead
some child to their future career. However, teaching the people in my
community something is rewarding enough.

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