This I Believe

Amanda - Banner Elk, North Carolina
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the power of service. My definition of service is going above and beyond your means to meet the needs of others. I have been a witness and direct product of lives changed through service.

Where would I be without service? Where would I be if my mother had not struggled as a single parent so that my basic needs would be met? Where would I be without my grandparents, who were devoted to doing their part in raising me as a Christian? Where would I be without my sister, who served as my emotional support throughout my life? It takes a village that believes in service, to raise a child.

I have been lucky enough to have an example of service set before me my entire life. My church has always felt the responsibility to support the community. Their service ranges from care packages for families who have lost a loved one, soup lunches for the homeless, to monthly support to missionaries around the world. It is only now that I am able to see that my passion for service has been developing for years with the help of others.

I attend Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. This is a college that is grounded in community service. I am fortunate to be a member of the Americorps Bonner Leaders program. Through my college, this program, and the support of my church, I was able to attend an Alternative Fall Break trip. This trip took a group of twenty students to Biloxi, Mississippi, where we assisted with Hurricane Katrina Relief efforts.

The sight of Biloxi is humbling in itself. This trip instilled a passion in me to which I cling. I was able to see the smiles of ordinary Americans who were thankful for a meal or change of clothing. I took part in the cleaning of a home that had once been water-filled and ruined. More than any event, I was able to see that I could make a difference in the lives of others.

I have found no feeling more satisfying than voluntary service. I am a firm believer that anyone can make a difference. If one life is changed by my service, I have been successful.

I have found my purpose in life. Service inspires me. One day I hope to continue my service after college, possibly as a missionary. Ghandi once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe in being that change.