Qinlan, from YVC in Philadelphia, has inspired us all though her actions. She was recently awarded the Don and Jean Sloan Youth Service Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded through Youth Volunteer Corps Headquarters. The $1,000 scholarship is open to active YVC volunteers who have demonstrated excellence in volunteerism and leadership and who are committed to making a difference in their communities.
Please enjoy her essay and be inspired with us.
Before I joined YVC, I had no way to cope with depression, and I lost hope in our community because of the neighborhood I grew up in. I see kids fighting every day and littering on the streets, which made me lose hope in the future. I especially felt this way in middle school when I witnessed my classmates fighting and hurting the teachers. I felt useless since I was not able to do anything to change it despite being the student president of the school. I started to question what’s the use of being a leader when you can’t change anything for the better.
However, everything changed after joining YVC. I was hesitant to join YVC at first, but I was glad I pushed myself to go to the first project. Mr. Greg’s warm welcome and the atmosphere at my first couple YVC projects pulled me out of the hopelessness I felt. Volunteerism with YVC provided me an opportunity to make a positive difference in the community even though it might be a small change. However, what surprised me the most was that there are other youths just like me who want to contribute back to the community; this gave me hope in the future.
Additionally, the variety of projects YVC offers allows me to grow as an individual, developing, and polishing different skills. It also made me realize that service is more than just volunteering at the library. I also learned that service is more than just helping others and the community; I am also helping myself through volunteering. YVC allows me to explore different areas with a variety of projects and interact with different people, to hear their stories, and how much it means to them that we are volunteering. Very quickly, volunteerism with YVC has become my way to cope with depression and gave me the emotional support I needed through the relationships I have developed. Every time after a volunteer project, I would always hang out with a group of volunteers that day, and over time, we developed a strong friendship. They became more than just friends to me; they are like family. They encouraged me to step out of my shell, try new things, and meet new people; their warm and welcoming attitude allows me to be myself and actively voice my opinions to them. YVC gave me the support and loved no other organization or group of people can give me; it also provided me a safe environment where I can grow as an individual. Therefore, by my sophomore year of high school, I fell in love with volunteerism with YVC.
I decided to bring YVC to Central High School and joined our local Youth Advisory Board. In the beginning, it was hard for me to recruit members to join the club, so the club started with me and some friends. I was not close to them at first, but I began by asking them to join me at a project and experience the warm and welcoming atmosphere I experienced. Afterward, they committed to YVC and were as equally excited about YVC as me. It was also due to the projects we all went to strengthen the friendship between us together, and now we are a group of close friends. As the senior year approached, we worked together to recruit new members, and I’m proud to announce that we have over 80 club members now.
Volunteerism with YVC has helped me evolve my leadership skills. Being on the Youth Advisory Board for YVC allows me to take part in planning and organizing service projects and events. Through my participation in organizing service projects, I realized that a good leader is someone who can identify a community need or issue and comes up with a service project to address it. I have also learned to become more observant and create meaningful service projects where everyone can either learn or grow their skills.
Leading the YVC club at Central High School also helped me learn how to communicate with other people and get my ideas through to them. As I gradually led more club meetings, my public speaking ability grew, and I was able to lead the meetings with ease. Leading a club is not easy, and through the reflections, I have on my leadership abilities whenever I lead a meeting, I would find the areas I need to improve on and start to improve them. Leading the club meetings and observing the skills of the members made me realize the type of leader I want to become, and YVC allows me to grow as that type of leader. I want to be a leader that can identify the strengths and weaknesses of the members and create different projects where they can use their strengths but also work on their weaknesses, helping them grow as a person just like how YVC helped me grow as an individual. After interacting with the new members and realizing that I will graduate soon, I realized that I want to be able to create leadership opportunities for others, helping other youths grow into leaders as I have. Therefore, I realized that a leader is much more than just leading a club, telling other people what to do, and influencing others. A leader is someone who creates more leaders.
YVC enlightened me as I realize I don’t need to always be at a service project to volunteer, I can incorporate service into my daily life through the decisions I make. Therefore, service becomes something I am committed to doing every day of my life for a lifetime.
My name is Qinlan Moc, I am currently a senior at Central High School. My hobbies include reading light novels, organizing events, hanging out with friends, and volunteering. Being in YVC has made me a happier person; I am able to make great friends and find a place where I feel like I belong. I would always hang out with my friends after going to a service project which allowed me to relax and recharge myself. Volunteering has also become a way for me to relieve stress since I started high school and has also given me unforgettable memories.