Religious essay contest

BYU Studies has the right of first refusal to publish all entries. We do not accept essays that have been published or are under consideration elsewhere, that have won any award from another contest, or that may be the property of another publisher. Do not simultaneously submit your essay to our contest and to any other writing contest. Authors may not submit contest essays for consideration to any other contest or publication until the Richard H. Cracroft Personal Essay contest results are announced or until receiving confirmation that the essay will not be published in BYU Studies Quarterly.

Yusra Ahmed, 2017 Religious Liberty Essay Contest Winner

Judging will be blind. The judges reserve the right to withhold any award if no entry merits the ratings established. Skip to main content. The Richard H. Cracroft Personal Essay Contest for One of those lights is my mom, Laura Jenkins. My mom works for a missionary organization called The Navigators. Through this program, she connects with youth in dangerous neighborhoods, giving them a place where they feel secure. Juntos has changed the lives of many lonely children because it demonstrates to them that there is a place where they can feel loved and there is a reason for their existence.

When I think about my mom demonstrating an act of love by sacrificing her own comfort, a specific time comes to mind.

Undergraduate Student Essay Contest | CSSR/SCÉR

At around 1 a. My sister, half asleep, walked in behind her with a sleeping bag and a pillow. They were not safe in their own home. I was irritated at the time because I had to share a room with my sister, and I did not understand why I had to give up my own comfort. However, I later realized that we were providing a secure environment. If these siblings had not stayed in our house for the night, they may have been hurt by their mom. I eventually understood that their safety was more important than my comfort. My school, Holy Ghost Catholic School, encourages the students to participate in community service.

One of my service projects involved volunteering at a nonprofit thrift store with other middle school students from East Central Ministries. When I arrived, I realized that I recognized nobody. This was extremely uncomfortable because everybody else was communicating in Spanish.

I did not want to be there. They obviously did not think I understood what they were saying. Much to their surprise, I do understand Spanish and I can speak enough to carry on a conversation.

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When I finally mustered up the courage to respond to one of the kids in Spanish, I suddenly became included. I definitely had to stop playing it safe to go and participate in an event where I knew nobody and had to sacrifice my comfort to converse in a different language. However, like my mom, I decided to continue to put my own comfort aside, and I kept going back to the thrift store. Now I am volunteering as a cashier for the duration of the semester.

All things considered, my mom is a woman of God who does her best to bring joy and hope to the next generation of Albuquerque. Because of her sacrifice, I have become more grateful for everything in my life, recognizing that others are not as fortunate as I am.

I am also extremely blessed to have a godly father who will support and protect me. The fact that I have a home, a place where I feel safe and understood, is such a blessing, and it is something that I took for granted before. Because my mom demonstrated such incredible generosity to these kids that she loves so much, I have been inspired to put aside my comfort and use my blessings and gifts to help other people.


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I hope that, just as my mom has passed down this idea of sacrificing my comfort to help others to me, I can share this idea with my children and the younger generation. Seth Gibbons, a seventh-grader at St. I was born with many heart defects and have had three open-heart surgeries. One day I asked her why that specific prayer was so important to her.

She told me that just after my second open-heart surgery, when all seemed to be going well, my breathing and my heart stopped working. After I came back to life, Mom knew that God was not yet ready for me to be in heaven. Just as Mary looked after Jesus, she also looks after and protects me. God also gives the doctors a gift that saves lives. One day that I will never forget was when a woman was crying outside a hospital room. She seemed so sad.

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Essay Contest

My mom stopped and started talking to the upset mother. Mom stayed, listened for a while and then hugged the stranger. Kindness and compassion can make a difference. There were other children having surgery like me in the hospital. A boy kept crying, even though his family was trying to comfort him. It just came over me to try to cheer him, like my mom did.

When I have surgeries and I am afraid, I always hold my stuffed bear that has a Band-Aid over its heart. I know what it feels like to be scared and afraid in the hospital. Hugging the bear made me feel better, so I decided to share it with the boy and see if it made him feel better.

I reached out to him and acted a little goofy to make him smile, then offered the bear. He stopped crying, laughed a little and hugged the bear.

Freedom From Religion Foundation Student Scholarship Essay Contest

Giving away something that I held close, to comfort someone else, actually made me feel good inside. Since then, I try to help when a friend seems upset and encourage them to smile or talk about what is making them sad. This year, my mom gave me a real puppy to replace my bear. I named her Gracie, because she is like Mother Mary in spirit, always with me.

Gracie is also goofy and makes many people smile, so we are a good team together. Though I have a special heart and am not exactly the same as other kids my age, it does not stop me from trying to show kindness and caring to others. Saving children like the doctors do every day, sharing compassion like my mom does, and the love that my dog Gracie gives show me a sense of purpose.

No matter what challenges I will have in the future, I know that God, Mother Mary and my mom and doctors too will continue to care, love and watch over me. Their kindness inspires me and will be kept in my heart always.


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Sometimes my grandpa does not know who I am. Sometimes he does not recognize my grandma despite being married to her for 50 years. My grandpa has Lewy body dementia. This disease affects his brain. My grandpa suffers from memory loss and hallucinations. He also has difficulty with walking and sleeping. On a good day, I can have a conversation with my grandpa and not even notice he is sick.

On a bad day, my grandpa cannot do anything by himself. My grandma always takes care of my grandpa. A few years ago, my grandpa had to stop driving and working. He could no longer be left alone. My grandma watches him and stays near him to keep him safe. She rarely gets any free time and does not get much sleep. Almost every night my grandpa wakes up in the middle of the night and is confused.

My grandma stays awake until he can fall asleep again. In the morning, my grandma helps him get dressed and makes him breakfast. My grandma drives my grandpa everywhere he needs to go. This includes helping him get into the car and buckling his seatbelt. I know it must be frustrating for my grandma to take care of my grandpa all the time. I know I get annoyed and frustrated sometimes when my parents or my sister ask me to do things for them. Whenever I see my grandma, she is always happy and glad to see me.

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She brings my grandpa to my sporting events and asks how I am doing. My grandpa has difficulty going up and down stairs. My grandma made the decision to move into a new house where they could mainly live on the first floor.