What does service mean to you? For the chance to win a $1,500 scholarship from Intown Plumbing, we asked participants to define service and what it means to give back to the community. We wanted to know about the personal experiences in which participants were involved and the impact that service leaves upon them, or on others.

A student from Caddo Mills High School, Sam Cuevas, describes service as an important facet of influence and support in a community. “It helps to build a sense of unity and belonging within a community, as individuals come together to help and support one another.” Cuevas is a student athlete and partakes in community service by aiding residents at a local nursing home. He recalls his favorite experience as a volunteer; “I got to go to a nursing home to speak and bring company to the elderly that lived there. I truly have a soft spot for the elderly.” Cuevas’s own grandfather resided in a folks’ home before his passing. Cuevas explained that each conversation he held with an elder jogged his memory so much of his grandfather, reminding him of the importance of compassion that is needed to be shared with others.

To Cuevas, service in a community is a display of compassion and togetherness. He expressed how, in his own struggles, friends and family are helpful when getting through tough times. Such as the time of his grandfather’s passing, he remembers how unifying the situation was. “This experience reminded me of the power of human connection and the importance of being there for others.” The intimate feelings one has with personal relations is a reflection on how a community should function as a whole.

One of the main reasons it is essential to help others, in general, is that it promotes a sense of compassion and empathy. When we engage in acts of service, we are able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and better understand their struggles and challenges. This can help to break down barriers and build stronger, more connected communities.

During his high school years, Cuevas volunteered at a fair that was operated by his high school to promote and support small businesses. He served his community by providing food and drinks and desserts to the elderly population. Cuevas also enjoys giving back to environmental charities. He informed us about an application called Charity Miles that he uses to convert footsteps into currency. The currency is then used to donate to charities. Cuevas is devoted to donating to ocean clean up.

Cuevas plans to attend Texas A&M after graduation and is inspired by his achievements to someday have the fortune to make a difference in the world.

Congratulations Sam! We hope that you will continue to display kindness and perform in communities wherever the need to make a difference takes you. We would also like to thank all of those who participated and applied for the scholarship. Good luck to all of you in your future endeavors.