Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Volunteerism- A Way of Life

Name: Reagan Leverett
From: Little Rock, AR
Grade: 11
School: Little Rock Christian Academy
Votes: 0

Six years ago, I chose to volunteer by mentoring youth at a Middle School
in Little Rock. At the time, I was volunteering there simply to fill
my summer with productivity, but the job quickly evolved into one of
my greatest passions. I have volunteered with the Let Our Violence
End Program for the past six years, working three hours daily after
school and five hours daily during the summer- totaling roughly 2000
hours overall. My responsibilities ranged from assisting children
with their homework, to leading activities during P.E., to creating
posters and decorations for the classrooms to brighten the
environment.

My biggest challenge became easier with time and experience in the
program, but during my first few weeks, it was particularly difficult
to connect with the kids in the program, probably because I too, was
still a kid. But as time went on, I began to bond with the students,
and my purpose began to overshadow the proximity in age. Seeing a
child’s face brighten with understanding when they have that
lightbulb moment and understand a tough math problem or language
concept is easily one of the most satisfactory feeling I get from
work. One lesson I learned during my time volunteering in the
program, was learning to relate to a diverse group of people
comfortably and find commonalities among our differences.

My aspiration to work in the public service sector, stems primarily from
my desire to assist those who are unable to assist themselves. The
often underprivileged and academically challenged kids I worked with
gave me the opportunity to fulfill this desire to help the helpless.
In this way also, my activities relating to my volunteer work are
forward looking. To me, something that’s forward looking is an
intentional act to contribute to the betterment of one’s academic
or professional future. Through my time at Henderson Middle School, I
was able to practice relating to people from different backgrounds
than mine, and subsequently invested in my future by practicing much
needed skills for my career.

It would be naive to suggest that my six years will be the change the
world needs to achieve peace or justice or really solve any major
problems that we’re facing on a global scale, but I can be
confident in the fact that the time I invested in those children can
only be for good. My aim is not to create worldwide change via my
volunteerism, but rather to sow the small seeds in the lives of the
individuals I’m given the opportunity to assist, and as a result,
start a ripple effect that could lead to a bigger impact in the life
of someone else. In 30 years, if I were to come back to Little Rock
and see some of the students that participated in the program, I
would hope that some of the lessons they learned there would have
helped them throughout high school and college and subsequently,
contributed to their success.


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