Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Shila Vardell, University of Phoenix. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.
by Shila Vardell
Have you ever wanted to make money and feel good about yourself at the same time? There are tons of jobs in the world but not all of them are rewarding. During my undergrad I needed to earn extra money to pay my bills but I didn't want to work in the retail or restaurant industry any longer. I was looking for something completely different. I really wanted a job that I found rewarding. Volunteering was something I found to be rewarding but it wasn't allowing me to pay my bills. One day I sat down and started brainstorming all of the things that inspired me and made me feel good about myself. My list was full of things; cleaning up the environment, feeding and clothing the homeless, caring for the elderly, and donating blood. The problem with my list was that none of these things generated a profit.
After much thinking and determination I finally thought of something. I was going to tutor children who were struggling in school. Not only was I going to tutor children but I was going to tutor less fortunate children at low cost. I would offer my tutoring services on a sliding scale. Meaning, parents who did not make a lot of money would get a discounted rate. This would be beneficial for me because I would make a little extra money. The parents would also benefit because they could pay a very low rate for my tutoring services and the children would benefit by getting extra help with school.
As soon as I figured it all out I went straight to Craigslist. I posted my services and immediately got responses. I had no idea there was such a high demand for tutors to help low income families. I started tutoring right away. The families were so appreciative that someone would take the time to tutor their children and for such a low cost. There were a few instances where I didn't even charge for my services because I knew the families could use the money more than I could. A few months into tutoring I noticed a significant improvement in the children's reading and mathematics skills. It felt so good to actually see an improvement and know that it was because of my help.
One of the parents called me one day and said that I helped save her child. He was in third grade and performing at first grade standards. She said that she and her husband dropped out of school at a young age and didn't know how to help him succeed. Her son's teacher told them that he would be held back if he didn't improve. I spent almost every day at their home helping him. All of my time and effort eventually paid off because four months later he was performing at his grade level and was no longer in jeopardy of being held back. It felt so good to make such an impact on someone's life. I have done many rewarding things in my life but tutoring children is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done.