(And Surrounding Areas)
I began volunteering at the Missoula Food Bank’s EmPower Place during COVID. It was here that I met, played with, and fed children who were food insecure. Spending time with these kids, who often had looks of loneliness and despair on their little faces, has been a harsh lesson in hunger’s impact. When I would hand the children a paper bag of food, and their eyes lit up as if it was gold, I would glimpse both gratitude and shame, which was so unfair; their hunger was through no fault of their own. This was my first experience with food insecurity and its ability to tragically permeate someone's entire life. Since then, I have spent many hours volunteering and aiding my community in the past several years. Being food secure allows students to concentrate on school, not on the fears or anxieties generated through hunger. Some of these community service hours and work occurred shortly after I returned to school once COVID restrictions were lifted. I got involved with local elementary schools by expanding their annual fall food dives. In total, three schools donated more than 3,500 pounds of food. The food drive lasted a short five days but had a remarkable response from the community, generating an estimated 2,500 meals. Wanting to spread this message of food insecurity's prevalence, I submitted an op-ed article to my local newspaper after the food drive concluded. I wrote about the need for more food drives in all seasons of the year, not just during the fall. To my delight, it was published in the paper and online. I was ecstatic to know that even though this article was short, it had the potential to reach more people that could help hungry children. In order to connect my educational goals with my public service, I plan to pursue a mathematics degree in college. Bridging the distance between my public service and a future college degree is valuable to me and my learning goals. I am eager to explore different mathematical concepts in order to acquire skills that can also help me in additionally in my personal and professional life. The predictability and precise nature of math are what I seek to learn, and I know San Diego State University will provide me with its impressive math department and countless resources. My degree in mathematics will allow me to join the fight against hunger and tackle the issues that its impact has on our society. By helping students who are living in food-insecure homes, I know I can impact their ability to stay in school where there are resources and support, much in the same way as the small, brown paper bag impacted the children at the Missoula Food Bank. And little by little, I will change the world after I graduate.
Justiz is 17 and a junior in high school, he is a volunteer for the fire department in his community. Justiz recently joined the Army National Guard and is preparing to leave for basic training upon completion of his Junior year. Justiz will return to complete his senior year at which time he will continue to serve with the Army and on his local volunteer fire department. Justiz serves in his community, does what is required of him by the army, goes to high school and is a huge help to his family by always showing up to help with things that are needed especially his little Brother.
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