Changing Our Communities

Ryan - Valparaiso, Indiana
Entered on May 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

As the son of two social workers, I have been immersed in the reality of life. As a child I can remember my parent’s discussions of teen pregnancies, poverty, and marital problems as if it was commonplace. At such a young age, little did I know the world is filled with such problems. These problems were common. Life was not as perfect as it seemed. But also included in their discussions was how people could help. Through community service and a proactive mindset, people can make a difference in the lives of others.

Having grown in the guidance of my parents I often helped them with their work and frequently volunteered at the companies they worked for. I remember one occasion in which my father and I left late one night to go to one of his client’s homes. Having lived in your average American household, I was unprepared for what I was about to witness. As we drove towards her house my dad explained to me how many people in this world are less fortunate than we were and they deserved help. This was the reason we had bought groceries for the person we were going to visit. Because her husband had left them and she was unemployed, she was unable to feed her children. When we pulled up to their trailer, I was befuddled by what I saw. The yard was filled with garbage. The dilapidated home was covered in vines and overgrown bushes. My dad and I walked up to the door and delivered the food. The woman thanked us repeatedly nearly breaking down in tears. This event would repeat itself many more times. My father felt that this type of experience would help me realize the brutality of life, yet how caring for your community is vital. I greatly thank my dad for these experiences as it has become an integral part of building my own beliefs and character.

Albert Einstein once said, “Only a life lived for others is worth living.” I have tried to live by this quote my entire life. I believe that community service is imperative in making our world a better place. Not being apathetic and complacent with our own lives is the first step in doing community service. Too many people have the belief that the world will take care of itself. I believe we must become more active in our communities taking advantage of every opportunity to help others. By doing so countless lives can be touched and our communities will become much better places.