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The Eternal Impact of HOPE Youth Corps – One Grateful Parent’s Perspective

Originally posted by HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corp. 17 Aug, 2017

Greg Taylor, HWW Chapter Director from Halifax, Canada, shares a unique perspective about the lasting impact of HYC on his family's life.

Taylor Family in Delhi, India (2014)

As I write this article, our family is en route back home to Canada from Budapest, and another successful HYC. Our 22-year-old son, Cameron Taylor, was one of the Global Service Interns who helped organize and lead this this HYC, and our 19-year-old daughter, Jillian Taylor attended as one of the HOPEww volunteers. We head back to our homes in Halifax, Canada, once again deeply impacted by the service and the love lived out on these amazing service trips.

This fall, our son will begin his medical school studies, and as I recently reviewed his essay that he submitted with his application, I am both grateful to God for opening this wonderful door of opportunity for our son, and humbled by the role that HOPE worldwide, its leadership and its service opportunities has played in shaping our son’s worldview and convictions to imitate Jesus by loving the poor. In short, Cameron’s essay had “HOPE worldwide” written all over it. Let me share with you a bit of our son’s journey with selected excerpts from his medical school application essay…

A few hours after Cameron’s birth, I firmly believe that God played a role in our son’s life through the delivering doctor who acted on a hunch, and located a significant problem with one of our son’s main organs. We were transported from Toronto East General Hospital to Sick Kids Hospital where he eventually spent about half of his first year. Our son had major kidney problems and if this wasn’t taken care of, at best he would live a severely limited life, and at worse, we could eventually lose him. Those weeks and long nights spent walking the halls of Sick Kids, holding our son and caring for him as best as we were able, were a roller coaster of emotions and some of the deepest times my wife and I have ever spent in prayer. Our family eventually moved to Halifax, and after more treatments and surgery, we are so thankful that our son is living a healthy and very normal life.

Cameron’s essay excerpt: “One of my earliest memories is of an operating room. I was four years old at the time, and I can still picture the mask covered faces, silhouetted by the overhead lighting, as the anesthesia induced darkness crept in from the edges of my vision. A core belief of mine is that to those who are given much, ( Luke 12:48 “to whom much was given, of him much will be required” ESV), much will be expected. I have been given much by way of experiences that have shaped my desire to become a physician, a career which would allow me to do the much that I believe is expected of me.”

Cameron at Sick Kids Hospital

In January of 2012, our family became more involved with HOPE worldwide as a Chapter was created in our congregation in Halifax. Later that summer, in August of 2012, our son was able to attend his very first HOPE Youth Corps in Philadelphia, an event which further helped to shape his perspective.

Cameron’s essay excerpt: “Along with my experiences of the healthcare system in this province already mentioned, there are several other experiences which have increased my interest in becoming a physician. One of the earliest of these was a service trip in North Philadelphia. Mentoring inner city kids and running a summer camp for them opened my eyes to the possibility of a life lived in service to others. I began to consider how I might best use my talents for such a task. Seeing as I was rather gifted in the sciences, I decided to try and pursue a career in medicine.”

Meanwhile back in Halifax, our HWW Chapter grew and began to get involved in more and more local service projects, as we prayed and explored ways to help serve those in our community. One of those ways is through what is known locally as the “Sunday Supper” program. In this, each Sunday evening, approximately 200 “guests” from our community who may be going through some life challenges or experiencing difficulties in their life, are treated to a warm meal, and an even warmer smile by a number of volunteer groups, various churches and community organizations. Our local congregation and HOPE worldwide of Canada have been privileged to be able to be involved with the Sunday Supper program for over 15 years.

A few years back, one of the needs that was observed by some volunteers was for a drop in “Foot Clinic” for the Sunday Supper guests, as foot care and treatment are especially important for those who may be experiencing homelessness.

Cameron’s essay excerpt: “In my grade twelve year…I began to take an interest in biology, (and) I also began volunteering at the Walk In Our Shoes (WIOS) clinic. The clinic afforded me the chance to interact with and provide free foot care to disadvantaged individuals in Halifax.”

Then in December of 2014, our entire family decided to take our Christmas and spend it in a “non-traditional” way and we traveled to Delhi, India to take part in our first HOPE Youth Corps as a family!

Cameron’s essay excerpt: “The skills I learned at the (Foot Clinic) clinic also came in handy when I visited a leprosy colony in India. Whether it is by treating a fungal toe nail in Halifax or bandaging lesions on the foot of a leper in India, the ability for medicine to communicate compassion regardless of language has had a supreme impact on me. These volunteer experiences showed me that a career in medicine could fulfill my desire for a life lived in service to others, which has also served to further my interest in becoming a physician.”

Cameron bandaging wounds in India on HOPE Youth Corps

Participation in HOPE Youth Corps not only helps develop a heart of compassion, but it also helps our youth to grow and expand in their leadership skills and abilities. Cameron applied for and became a HOPE Youth Corps Global Service Intern after coming home from HYC Delhi in 2014, and co-lead his first HYC in Philadelphia in June of 2016. He also co-lead the HYC Budapest in July 2017.

Cameron’s essay excerpt: “Not all of my experiences have played readily to my strengths. Some have revealed weaknesses, and subsequently allowed me to work on growing in those areas. (Such as) leadership in group settings. I would rather follow someone else’s plan or be delegated to, than be the one coming up with the plan and delegating. Leading service projects here in Halifax and abroad has helped me in this area. To assume that all my weaknesses have been entirely overcome would be false. Although I have experienced growth in some areas, there is still much to learn and grow in. Along the way there have been challenges that have made my weaknesses apparent and therefore forced me to be humble. The sum of these experiences is great, and I believe the expectation of what I do with them is also great. I view a career as a physician not just as an opportunity, but also as a moral obligation; not just as a decision, but as a duty.”

Our family is eternally grateful for the opportunities that our fellowship of churches has to offer to our youth and to our families; and for the eternal impact that HOPE Youth Corps has had on each one of the Taylor family.

Like all parents, we are trying to do our best to help our children navigate life and search out ways to put their God-given talents to work in a meaningful and fulfilling way as they mature and search out a career path. From my vantage point and from my experience, I would whole-heartedly encourage parents, youth and church leaders to look at the role that HOPE Youth Corps could play on that journey. My simple wish is that not only would many parents be given the opportunity to send their children on an HYC, but that many more would be able to “take” their children and their families on an HYC and be forever changed by the experience, the lessons learned and the bonds of brotherhood formed literally around the world!

(All excerpts from Cameron’s Application for Medical School Essay used with his permission)

Cameron serving in Philadelphia (2012)


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