Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – The Gift That Keeps Giving

Name: Cierra Johannes
From: ZEARING, Iowa
Grade: 12
School: Colo-NESCO High School
Votes: 254

The
Gift That Keeps Giving

Cierra
Johannes

I
started to volunteer when I was 11. I enjoy volunteering and continue
to do so. Volunteering has been a great way to meet new people and
experience different events that have helped me make decisions. I
volunteer in the school community, for Story County Conservation
Center, and I donate blood.

In
the school community I have mainly worked concession stands during
baseball and basketball season. I have put over 50 hours into working
concession stands. I would also help set up, cook, sell, and clean
up. It was always a great and fun experience. It also gave me a
chance to socialize with people I would not always hangout with. I
have also been involved with Student Council and National Honor
Society where I have helped create other service projects for a group
of students and the entire school. I was Student Body President my
Junior year. I got it arranged to where different grades would go at
different times to two different locations to do work outdoors. One
location was Hickory Grove Lake to clean up honeysuckle and the other
was Threshold Learning Center to do other clean up activities. For
National Honor Society we have done several projects where we raise
money for different organizations like MS, Pennies for Patients,
raising money for angel tree, and raising money to buy fleece to make
hats for cancer patients. I also have volunteered in the classroom by
helping with the 5th and 6th grade art classes. There is a lot of
kids and I really enjoy art, so I go in and help answer questions and
demonstrate different techniques. The kids really seem to enjoy
having the second person their to help answer their questions faster
and get more than one opinion. I have spent over 40 hours with the
5th and 6th graders.

I
have volunteering with Story County since 2012 and have also worked
for them. I worked for them for 2 years as a seasonal employee during
summer. I found out about the job through my volunteer work. I have
spent approximately 190 hours helping with different festival
activities and summer camps. Some things that I do at their festivals
are face painting, food, beverages, and being a float to help at any
and all stations. I do the festivals when I can, but the majority of
my hours come from helping with the summer camps. The camps that I
help with are called Polliwogs and Waterbugs. Polliwogs in the first
camp kids can sign up for and is the youngest age group. They learn
the basics about mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and play in the
pond. Waterbugs is the next age group and they learn all about what
creatures like in water. The kids get to go to different types of
bodies of water to explore the creatures in the water. I help set up,
watch the kids, and clean up. To set up, I make sure tables, chairs,
and sitting squares, put out coloring sheets and crayons, and that
snack and activities are ready fo the day. To start the program, I
make sure that all the kids are checked in and got their name tags
put on. Throughout the program I help make sure kids are where they
are suppose to be and stay engaged. I also help with getting snacks
and activities out and done since all kids work at different paces.
At the end of the day I would make sure the kids left with their
parents and then did the dishes from snack and let them dry while I
made sure the meeting areas were cleaned up. It has always been one
of my favorite things to volunteer with.

I
have donated blood four times successfully and have attempted 2 other
times. I enjoy donating blood because I know it could help someone
who’s life is on the line. I first donated at my school at a blood
drive that the National Honor Society put on. I was nervous for my
first time, but after the first couple minutes it seemed like
nothing. For my second time, I got a call asking to participate in
one going on at the community center in Zearing, Iowa. I got ask to
go to another one in Ames, Iowa a couple of weeks later. I jumped on
the opportunity and scheduled a time to donate. The hardest part
about donating blood is making sure my iron level is high enough and
that I schedule times sixteen weeks apart. I really enjoy donating
blood and know that someone is always in need of it somewhere else. I
wish more people would donate more often to help and save more lives.

I
feel like I have learned a lot from volunteering that will help me,
and others in the feature. I have learned to be even more
responsible, organized, open minded, and how much I love working with
kids. I had to manage my time and know what was going on all of the
time so I could help lead and keep everyone in the write direction. I
learned how to work with kids of all kinds. I have worked with really
kids that were normal and kids with disabilities like ADHD and more.
I have also learned how helping others makes me feel accomplished and
satisfied with myself because I am doing something good for someone
else. In the future, I plan to attend to attend college and become a
psychiatrist for kids. Working so much with kids has really inspired
me and is what helped me decide what I wanted to do with myself in
the next ten to twenty years. I hope to help kids when they are at a
young at to help prevent mental illnesses that could potentially lead
to things like school shootings and other acts of violence. I hope
that the volunteer work I have done will make an impact on someone’s
life and that they will remember the experiences they had in five or
ten years and also volunteer.

I
hope that the volunteering I have done will make a change, even if it
is the smallest change. If it turns out that in ten or even thirty
years from now my volunteering did not make a difference to everyone,
it made a difference to me. My life has been shaped by the hundreds
of volunteer hours I have put into different places and the people I
have gotten a chance to work with. I am very thankful for all of the
experiences I have had and hope to inspire others to volunteer as
well.


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