What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
Last summer, one of the service events that I helped to organize was a Special Olympics showcase. I was paired up with a fifty-six year old lady named Anne, who has autism and a leg injury. In basketball, Anne kept missing the hoop. Every time she missed, I offered to take a break. However, Anne shook her head and took every miss as an opportunity to improve. She analyzed the distance of the hoop from her hands, aimed the ball into the net, and lunged towards her target with the ball in her hands.
Tired and disheartened, I turned away. Suddenly, I heard a high-pitched scream and quickly turned around. I saw pure joy on Anne’s face as she finally made the ball into the basket. While I got joy from more materialistic things such as a new purse or an “A” on a test, Anne’s joy was different. Her happiness was simple and sweet and came from something more ordinary. Anne taught me that even if I missed my goal on the first twenty tries, I could eventually achieve it, even if it took 100 attempts.
As a five-year member, Publicity Coordinator, President, and now officer team Advisor of the largest service club on campus, Interact, I’ve learned about planning biweekly service events, finding monthly fundraisers to raise money towards our community projects, and organizing weekly member meetings. Still, the most important thing I’ve learned though is service above self.
Every service event I attend leaves me with a unique perspective on life, and newfound strength to face challenges. As a club, our community project that we tackled was removing the stigma against mental health and embracing the diversity between people. I coordinated weekly events with our school’s special education department, organized mental health workshops, spoke at large charity dinners, and shared my passion for service with others. As a District, throughout the year, we fundraised over $124,000 towards mental health care and raised over 55,000 service hours. The smallest events and the tiniest contributions helped form the biggest change in our community, and it all started with promoting service above self.