This I Believe

camila - palo alto, California
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change, purpose

I believe that one person can make a difference. Though I am only one in a world of approximately 6.5 billion, I have confidence that through dedication and perseverance my efforts will be felt and matter. Mahatma Gandhi once said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe that I can be that change.

What is my cause? Everything is my cause. I will work to stop starvation and sickness; to fight global warming, I will speak out for human rights. I know I can’t change these problems by myself, but as the steps I take get bigger, as I get more support, I believe that my individual efforts will count. I know that bakesale by bakesale my contribution will be noted.

I haven’t written grants or made large donations to all the organizations I support, I am just 13. However I have worked with others to raise enough money to sponsor 4 kids in Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique and Vietnam. My experience writing to and getting to know these children has been educational, fun and also very rewarding. Giving a chance at a better life to these children and their families was a life changing experience for them but also for me. Sometimes people look at me funny when I show them the pictures of “my children” on my refrigerator or when they see my collection of yellow objects for Chana’s birthday because it is her favorite color. But I feel that the relationships I am building with these children who live in lands I may never see and under conditions I can hardly imagine are a very important part of my life. The world is a very big place but when I look at the map tacked up on my bulletin board with a pin on every place that I’ve made a difference it seems much more real. My goal is to someday fill my map up completely with those little pins; and I believe I can.

It isn’t easy to change the world. I never imagined that as I sold cup cakes and cookies outside of a grocery store a university professor would come up to me and tell me that my signs were ineffective. Sometimes it is important for people to remember that you don’t have to be perfect to be effective.

Yes I believe I can make a difference in the world but I also believe that to change the world I need others to join in. Hundreds of individuals making a difference can improve the lives of others, thousands of individuals making a difference creates the momentum needed to change the world. How many do we really need? I don’t know, but as Mother Theresa said “What we are trying to do may be just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”