Home Country: United States
Why should you be the IVHQ volunteer of the year?
- Muscular Dystrophy Association - Columbus, Ohio
- Sunrise Senior Living Home - Columbus, Ohio
- SAT, ACT, and College Essay Tutor and Counselor - Denver, Colorado
- Created leadership studies initiative at Sheridan High School - Denver, Colorado
- Catalyst for an initiative of new infrastructure in Denver city schools focusing on inspiring personal passion to prevent dropouts in high school - Denver, Colorado
- Teacher and Construction Worker - Managua, Nicaragua
- Volunteer for IVHQ working on jungle conservation - Cuzco, Peru
I believe that I should be the IVHQ Volunteer of the Year because it would allow me to continue to make a difference in the lives of a greater number of people. I may not be the most qualified applicant, but I know that I will work harder than any other with the opportunity allowed by this award. I am also not naïve enough to think that I can solve a problem like world hunger or poverty alone, but if I can make a tangible difference in the lives of even a few people, that would be the most incredible experience I could imagine.
What motivated you to get involved with volunteering?
I think at first, my motivation to volunteer was inspired in large part by my parents. However, as time went on I came to a realization that has served as a base for a number of decisions I have made throughout my life, including my volunteer efforts today. I am fortunate enough to have an incredible family, good health, an opportunity for education, and what feels like an endless number of blessing that I have done nothing to earn. It is cosmic chance that I was born into a situation as fortunate as mine – I just as easily could be living a much more difficult life, one with seemingly impossible-to-cross bridges preventing the opportunities I often take for granted. I want to make a difference in the lives of people who aren’t allowed those opportunities, allowing them the chance for education, the right to life, or any number of injustices that I enjoy by virtue of the fact that I was lucky enough to hit a cosmic jackpot when I was born. I want to allow others the opportunity to pursue their passions the same way I am able to pursue mine.
How much time do you dedicate to volunteering?
I spend a fair bit of time dedicated to volunteering, most recently in regard to the initiative to create the infrastructure in Denver schools mentioned in my first response. That said, my main goal is to make a difference in the lives of others, which I believe is more a choice of lifestyle than something with a finite time limit.
What is the most rewarding part of your volunteer work?
The most rewarding part of my volunteer work is seeing how great the results of my hard work can be for someone else. If I can make a tangible difference and see how it benefits another person’s life, my work is well worth it.
What is the greatest challenge of your volunteer work?
I think the greatest challenge of volunteer work is how difficult it can be on some days to be selfless and put in the genuine time and effort I must to make a lasting difference for someone else. There are definitely days when I at first feel burnt out, and so it is important to make a conscious effort to remember the reason I am working on something I might think is in and of itself monotonous or too strenuous.
Why do you believe you will be effective volunteering within a community abroad?
I have experience living abroad, stemming from a month of immersion in Spain and my time in Nicaragua. As such, I think I have a head start on understanding some of the difficulties that come with international culture shock. I also am willing to work harder than anyone else if I am presented the opportunity to do so. I have always prided myself on my work ethic – I know that there will always be someone more talented or qualified, but there will never be someone who is willing to more fully commit to whatever he or she is doing and do it well. I believe that if I am offered the honor of being IVHQ Volunteer of the Year, I could take my work ethic to an international community and make a lasting difference abroad.
What are you hoping to gain from an international volunteer experience?
An international volunteer experience would allow me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in communities I otherwise would never be able to see. Seeing how other people and cultures live is fascinating to me - it helps me learn how to handle my own personal trials and recognize how incredible people truly can be. That sort of inspiration is invaluable, and is something I hope to be able to experience as IVHQ Volunteer of the Year.