This I Believe: Help Yourself by Helping Others

Andrew - Merrick, New York
Entered on September 1, 2008

I believe we all have an obligation to help those who are less fortunate, and that doing so can reward us with more than just feelings of doing good. It is taught that all good deeds should be done selflessly and out of the kindness of your heart. I believe, however, that people should consider how helping others will help themselves in other ways.

I believe that when you take action to help others, you are investing in your own future. By extending yourself and taking action to support a belief, cause, individual, or group, you can reach new personal heights. One incentive for doing good is the respect that comes with being associated with philanthropy. People respect those who sacrifice their time and energy to promote positive change in the world. Think about celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Bono, and Bill Gates, and how their widely publicized efforts to help the underprivileged have become significant parts of their star status. In today’s world, arguably the most abused power is that of celebrity, yet these icons have demonstrated that public acts of selflessness can add to their image. There’s no reason why the average individual can’t personally benefit from doing charity as well.

Two years ago, I helped launch a film-based campaign that raised close to $10,000 for Africans afflicted with HIV, Aids, and Tuberculosis. This effort helped open new doors for me. After executing this philanthropy I began building relationships with local journalists and charities that led me to raise more money for different causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and Juvenile Diabetes research. While working to support various organizations, I met many great people, including Dr. Paul Farmer, a famed humanitarian who visited Syracuse University last fall. Spending time with Dr. Farmer was an extremely moving and informative experience that would not have been possible without my prior charity work.

I believe that one can never be too young to be a role model. I hope that I have inspired some of my peers to consider how they can help those in need. Setting a positive example is another reward of helping others. By contributing resources like time, money, and energy, you can directly foster positive reform in the world.

I am privileged to be in good health and to be a student in one of the nation’s most respected academic institutions. I believe that with my good fortune comes a myriad of important responsibilities. One of these is to give back. Being charitable is one of the best ways to show appreciation for the hand you’ve been dealt in life, while acknowledging that most others are not as lucky.

It does feel good to help others. But there are other reasons why we should fulfill our obligations to those who are less fortunate. I believe we must all understand this, and do everything that we can to aid those around us, and throughout the world.