This I Believe

Veronica - Rochester, New York
Entered on December 6, 2007

I now believe in the power of kindness. A simple act of kindness has the ability to touch many people in various ways, although it does not necessarily require a lot of effort. For example, just holding the door open for someone you don’t know, or giving a friendly smile to someone you casually pass throughout your day can touch someone’s life in a way you may have never imagined. Throughout my eighteen years of life, I have learned that taking a few minutes out of my day to complete an act of kindness can have a tremendous effect on the life of someone else.

Two years ago, I took a course at my high school called Peer Leadership. The course required for us to complete two service learning projects during the semester. For my second service learning project, a small group of students and I decided to create a project in which we would help underprivileged parents provide Christmas for their families. In order to do this, we had to first raise money. Our group organized a can and bottle drive around a few neighborhoods in our community. This helped our group raise a few hundred dollars to buy Christmas presents and food for the families. We even bought and delivered a Christmas tree to one family who could not afford it. Our next step was to obtain wish lists for the children we had to buy presents for. We tried as hard as we could to give the kids most of the things that they asked for, including toys, books, music, and clothing. When we were finished shopping, we spent hours after school wrapping and tagging the Christmas gifts we bought.

After weeks of anticipation, delivery night had finally arrived. All of the days of hard work put in by the seven of us led us to this final hour, the hour we spent delivering our gifts and meeting the families face to face. The carpool was nerve wrecking; everyone was anxious, and nervous. Would they be welcoming? We arrived at the first house not knowing what to expect. We knocked on the door and a man answered. We wished him a Merry Christmas and gave him the presents and food. Just as we were about to leave, his children came to the door and thanked us. Seeing their faces made me realize the joy we were bringing to them. The same thing happened when we went to the other houses. The mother at the last house cried. This made me realize something. We gave them Christmas. All of my life, I have never had to worry about whether or not I would have something to open on December 25th. Every year there are families who cannot provide their families with the Christmas that they wanted. Our simple act of kindness changed their lives forever. Doing this project didn’t cost me anything, but I gained something from it that no one could purchase.