Looking for a bright future


Elle Steele, Guest Writer

“300 hours!” yells Maria Brvenik as she sets her goal for volunteer hours. She wants to expand her horizons and volunteer at more than one place. There are many different programs that encourage kids to get involved, and Maria was ready. “I’ve encountered multiple opportunities to help out society for the greater good. I’ve been able to build bonds with patients and staff that I work with in the hospital. And when I volunteer as a soccer coach, I have the opportunity to give kids a healthier lifestyle.” Brandon Lucas has “always wanted to own a business.” He volunteers at a local business owner’s store weekly and is “always ready for the next task.” Brandon wants to become “a successful CEO after graduating UF at the age of 22,” but business school can be “costly.” He joined the Bright Futures program in his freshman year of high school in hopes of earning a scholarship. There are multiple scholarships that are available depending on the number of hours that are completed. There can be from 75 to more than 400 hours. The more volunteer hours that are contributed, the more money Bright Futures provides. However, when applying for said scholarships, the students SAT scores must be submitted, along with their transcripts. For other scholarships, additional tests will be given. The deadline for any submission is on or before graduation day. This might be a step back for some students. Some kids don’t like tests and can end up doing poorly because of stress. This test can cause students to not meet the qualifications needed for the scholarship. One freshman  wants to apply for Bright Futures, but says she is “not a good test taker.” This student has always been interested with the Bright Futures program, but has never wanted to apply knowing she would have to complete and score well on certain tests. Nevertheless, some scholarships only require and essay and not a test. “I have volunteered at a food drive down at Tropicana Field”, she said.  She also said, “I want to have “75 hours by then end of senior year.” Another Warrior, Sophie Ivanova, said she has “volunteered at a food drive, down in St. Pete.” She has always “loved helping the community in any way possible” and “cannot wait to start assisting them again soon.” Zach Pillion has been planning to enter the Bright Futures program since he found out about it. He wants to have “over 75 hours” and he will get there by “coaching soccer to little kids ages 5-6.” Zach plays soccer himself and hopes he will earn a full-ride scholarship, but if he does not get it, “Bright Futures will definitely be “my next choice.” He is not sure where else he is going to volunteer, but said, “I still have time to figure it out.”