A Difference That Matters

Rachel - Grants Pass, Oregon
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

During my sophomore year of high school, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local elementary school with a homework help club. From participating in this, I met a third grade boy. This young boy taught me much about what I want from life. After meeting him, I made up my mind to get a degree in a career in which I could work with kids similar to Hayden. Why did this third grade student impact me so much? I remember the day he and I first met, he had been sitting alone and his head was bowed, with a large stack of late homework to finish. He wore a frown. I sat down him and did my best to motivate him to work. Weeks later after Hayden and I built up a trust, he confided in me that his father was an alcoholic and was addicted to illegal drugs, him mother was suffering from cancer and as a result spent most of his time alone at home. He was known as “sick o” or “grossy” and was the subject of everyone’s teasing. I grew to love this young boy. Perhaps I learned more about myself and the life I wanted to lead from this experience with Hayden, than any other experience from my life.There are many other children with stories similar to Hayden’s. I want to make a difference in the lives of these children. I want each one of them to understand they have potential. One of my life-long goals is to love these children as if they were my own. I believe in making a difference. Even with a single act of service each day, one person can make a huge difference in someone’s life. A simple smile can lift a burden, turn someone’s day from gloomy to bright, strengthen a relationship and so much more. That is the power of simple acts of service. You may overlook a simple act of service, but the recipient however, will not.

When you serve others, you don’t just feel better about yourself, but you feel more gratitude as well. It is a win- win situation and takes but a moment. Let us strive to make a small difference in someone’s life each day of our lives, it may start as something small, but soon you will see it grow into something much more meaningful. We can all make the difference; the first step is to have the desire to. Some may say we cannot change the world, but it is my belief that we can, and are in the process of doing just that. I believe that people have good intentions and desire to be good, if each of us decides to seek out to do one small act of service each day, we will notice a change, not only in ourselves, but within our environments, and throughout our world.

I don’t know if Hayden remembers me still, but I remember him. What he taught me during my sophomore year of high school has changed my perspective on life completely. Imagine the difference you can make.