Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – Service Above Self

Name: Sommer Alex
From: West Sacramento, California
Grade: 11
School: River City High School
Votes: 0

I
have seen firsthand all the ways that someone can make a difference,
but many of my classmates have not. After all, the dominant narrative
is one that tells high school students to leave the decisions to
their parents, their teachers, the ones who know what they’re
doing, but the reality is that teenagers do have power. With every
choice we make, we have control.

I
became Key Club president in order to remind others of that. I
realized it when I first joined, that anyone has the power to enact
meaningful change if only they realize it. Under my term as president
this year, the club has increased exponentially and along with it,
the number of people we’ve helped. Last year, our club served a
total of 1,500 hours and now, three months into the school year,
we’ve already amassed 1,100. I have guaranteed that next year when
I graduate, the club will still maintain the same level of excellence
and service by painstakingly creating detailed manuals on how to
organize and coordinate every single service projects and fundraiser
our club hosts. That way, events can be executed with the highest
level of organization, ensuring successful service for years to come.
That, to me, is “forward-looking.”

I
have been in Key Club for three years; I became treasurer my 2nd year
and am now president. Preparation for the weekly meetings, where I
promote upcoming service projects and fundraisers to our club takes
me 5-6 hours a week, recordkeeping and member recruitment requires
around 2-3 hours. I have more than 100 hours worth of service. My
biggest challenge is member participation. Even though our club has
the greatest number of members when compared to all other Key Clubs
in the surrounding area, there are many who don’t participate in a
lot of events.

This
year, I organized numerous fundraisers and service projects dedicated
to homelessness. In my junior year of high school, numerous problems
at home left me on the verge of homelessness. It was then that I
grasped the magnitude of the homeless problem in Sacramento, one of
the cities with the highest homeless population in the nation. There
are so many people in need and not enough resources for them. Key
Club allowed me to help provide these resources. So far, we’ve made
over 1,000 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to give to the
homeless and I am currently organizing a service event to provide 100
survival kits to the needy.

My
career goals are not in alignment with my volunteer focus. I believe
that service is best executed when no profit is made from it, and, as
a result, I hope to serve my community in college just as much as I
did in high school. However, I hope to one day use the skills I gain
from a B.A. in anthropology to promote greater cooperation between
people from different countries and cultures in order to create a
greater understanding of global society.


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