Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – Building Homes and Building Hope

Name: Meagan-Elise Malone
From: Huntington, New York
Grade: 11
School: Huntington High School
Votes: 0

Meagan-Elise
Malone

Youth
Forward Scholarship

Volunteering
has always been a huge part of my life. I began at a young age, doing
small local events such as caroling with my girl scout troop and
performing with my dance company at nursing homes. At the start of
middle school, I joined a local youth group at my friend’s church
and developed a great passion for community service. For five years
now, I have participated in the U.M. Army, a mission trip conducted
by youth throughout the northeast region each summer. Our job is to
reach out to communities in need by repairing homes and doing
laborious work for those who are unable. This has become my favorite
week each summer, for I believe that through our work, we are not
only repairing their homes, but we are also repairing their lives.

With
each returning year, I was given a more difficult task and greater
responsibility. For example, I have progressed from scraping and
painting decks to building decks. The greatest challenge I faced was
the building of a deck, in which I was expected to lift and place
large, heavy planks, and use drills and saws to stabilize and shape
the deck. Though the large power tools were much more intimidating
than a few paint brushes, with the help of my teammates, I was able
to gain confidence in using drills and doing heavy-duty lifting. This
achievement of finishing the deck by overcoming my intimidation and
gaining confidence has carried over into everyday situations both big
and small, and has been a very rewarding factor of volunteering.

This
camp has taught me patience, for a long day of work can cause much
stress, and difficult projects take time. I have been taught the
importance of responsibility through jobs such as being in charge of
gathering the proper tools needed for a site and making sure the
group stays on task on on schedule. Lastly, I have gained more self
confidence through this camp, which is something I have always
struggled with. Standing up in front of a full camp and delivering a
lesson is something I never imagined doing, however, it has helped me
discover my love for teaching, and as I look forward to college, I
hope to pursue a career in secondary education.

If
I were to come back in twenty or thirty years, the deck I built would
most likely be rotted and the layer of paint I spent all day on would
be all chipped away, however the connections we made with the
community would still be strong and present. In 2016, the woman we
were helping told us how much we had changed her outlook on life. She
had been struggling to find motivation to keep battling sickness and
moving forward with her life, but we were the encouragement she
needed to persevere. Her gratitude for saving her life is an
experience I will never forget.


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