Meet Easton Bowring, our 2017 Young Humanitarian Award runner-up. Easton is a freshman at Southern Utah University studying communications and aviation. He was lucky enough to find a school where his dream of becoming a commercial pilot can be paired with his love of  photojournalism and communications.

Since receiving this award, Easton has remained committed to the special needs community. Recently he started working with Chrysalis, an organization that provides opportunities and support for special needs individuals. He works in 32 homes working with special needs individuals from ages 9-65 on daily tasks. In addition to working with Chrysalis, Easton is the historian of Sigma Chi at Southern Utah University and a photojournalist for the Southern Utah University News. He is also heavily involved with RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards).

The special needs community is important to Easton because this is where he made the transition from volunteer to humanitarian. He started as a volunteer, helping special needs teens at Monticello High School. His journey to a humanitarian unfolded as he was placed in a difficult position; faced with a choice to stand up for one of his special needs friends or allow another student and friend to continue to bully someone who couldn’t stand up for himself.  When asked what makes the difference between a volunteer and humanitarian, Easton thoughtfully commented that it can be a fine line. This line can be difficult to understand, for even someone like himself who has been recognized for being a humanitarian. He said, “A volunteer participates every now and then in service. It’s something they love to do. A volunteer is willing to give up something (like their time) for someone else.” Easton believes the path to a humanitarian is a process that can be hard to see. “A humanitarian doesn’t view themselves as being much different than anyone else. They aren’t out for public attention but are dedicated to making the lives of others better through their service. The path from volunteer to humanitarian is the journey from the head to the heart.”

Easton continues, “The greatest thing about applying for the scholarship isn’t about winning the award. It was in the journey. It was through the essays and interviews that I realized that you can make a difference by doing the little things in your community. There is nothing more beautiful than a genuine heart with a desire to make a difference in the world.”

Easton advises anyone who is thinking about applying, “If someone was debating about applying or not, I would say to them, ‘apply.’ You will only benefit yourself as you reflect on things you are doing, as well as the things you can improve. You will find that you have done more good in the world, then you even thought before.”

Apply for the 2018 Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award by Thursday, March 1st. Click here to apply!