Read Another Winner

In my last post, I shared one of the essays I used to scholarship my way through college. Here’s a second sample successful scholarship essay—this one’s about my favorite type of community service work.

Question: “Describe a particular aspect of your service activities and accomplishments and relate the impact it has had on you and those you served.”

My response:

   A Brighter Future for Mariah…and for Me!

“Good job, Mariah! All the answers on your multiplication worksheet are correct,” I congratulated my honorary “little sister.” The 10-year-old beamed up at me, so I went on to say, “You’re so good at math. Have you ever thought about becoming an engineer or a scientist?”

“I dunno,” Mariah replied.

“So, what do you think you want to be when you grow up?”

The little girl just shrugged, and I realized that she had probably never been asked this oh-so-common question before. As a student mentor, I’ve encountered so many children who don‘t have attentive adults in their lives to initiate these kinds of conversations. Nobody has ever told these kids that they should strive for excellence and they can do anything that they put their minds to. That’s the part I play in being a mentor.

The ability to volunteer within one’s own community is a skill possessed by only a handful of people. I believe the trait that makes my character shine is my willingness to help others. Through my experiences volunteering, my eyes have been opened to a world that is unfair, where bad things happen to very undeserving people. I spend a lot of my time doing things in the community, but I am most dedicated to being a student mentor to younger children who need attention and encouragement. My time spent with Mariah has been full of enrichment, as I show her a world outside of her own.

I met Mariah last year at a summer camp for underprivileged youth. After that first encounter the two of us were inseparable. Mariah is the second youngest of five children, and I know from personal experience that it’s sometimes hard to get the attention you yearn for from your parents, even though I come from a family of four, not seven! I guess that’s why we connected so well; I understood where she was coming from in her need for attention. I started spending the majority of my days with Mariah, but now that school is back in session, our friendship is limited to tutoring, weekend visits, and long phone conversations.

Looking back at the time I‘ve spent with Mariah, I have seen her evolve into a happier and more industrious child. John Ruskin once said, “Give a little love to a child and you get a great deal back.” That’s the part of the work that benefits me, because I have never had someone like a little sister who looked up to me. The impact this experience has had on me is irreplaceable and has instilled in me a new love of the world and what it has to offer.

It has also taught me responsibility. I know I have had a dramatic impact on Mariah’s life, as well. For example, her name is no longer on the Disciplinary List at school, but instead on the Honor Roll, plus her once heartbreaking facial expressions have transformed into sunshine-filled smiles and belly-aching laughter. Someday, we may even discover together what it is she wants to be when she grows up!

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

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