Erin Cantrell 1

Scholarship Finalist: Erin Cantrell

Erin Cantrell
Erin Cantrell attends Gardendale High School in Gardendale, Ala.

As I sit on the old wooden stool inside the muggy concession stand, I ask myself countless times this very question, “Why am I volunteering for my community?” For the last 3 years, I have been serving as a member of the Gardendale High School Student Council, where I have accumulated roughly 50 hours of service for multiple events for my community. I will be honest and admit that the first 2 years that I would work events, I saw it as meaningless, and time-consuming, and unbearable! Never feeling like I had a purpose. I knew it was “the right thing to do” but I was volunteering for the wrong reasons. But, as my senior year comes to a close, I have figured out my why. After reading Matthew 5:16, I took this verse to heart and it opened my eyes to see helping others in my community to be filled with so much joy. I began to love helping others and doing everything possible. At the beginning of 2021, one of the teachers at my school was diagnosed with breast cancer. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, as the whole school prays that our beloved teacher, Mrs. Jones, will win her battle. She has recently gotten worse as the cancer has spread throughout her body. During a student council meeting, I took it upon myself to take charge of organizing a color run as a fundraiser event for the Jones family. I go back to the verse in Matthew, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” and reflect how this is now my reason. I do not volunteer to get a piece of paper, medal, or reward but to spread the love of Christ through my service to others, all while giving the honor to Him. As I continue to execute the fundraiser event for Mrs. Jones and all future service projects that I get to be a part of, my prayer is that the wonderful message of Jesus will change the lives of others and for my life to resemble His selfless unconditional love.

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