This I Believe

Jessica - Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Entered on April 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

One Voice

I believe in the power of one voice.

When I was a little girl I volunteered at a nursing home that my mother worked at. One day I was volunteering when I happened to walk by a patient’s room. I remember peering into the room and feeling complete shock at the sight before my eyes. There was an older woman leaning over a younger man in a wheelchair. She was yelling at him and hitting him, as he cowered beneath her with one arm up to ward off the blows. Although I had no idea what the circumstances were behind the situation, I knew that what was taking place was wrong. I quickly walked away and sought out one of the nurses to explain what I had seen.

Later that day I was walking down the hall yet again when the older woman who had been hitting her son, as I later found out, approached me and proceeded to reprimand me for getting involved in “her business”. She stuck her face, along with her finger right down into mine, and yelled at me. Being the timid child that I was, I didn’t say anything to her; I just stood there and stared. When she was done venting her anger on me, she walked away. I was pretty shaken up, but that didn’t change the way I felt about what I had seen. If anything, I disliked her even more for having the gall to yell at a child for doing what seemed to be the right thing.

After the whole ordeal was over, I received a card from the head of the department not only thanking me for what I had done, but also praising me for being a strong individual. That praise and gratitude helped shape me into the person that I have become. In addition, I learned that all of the nurses there had already known about the abuse, but hadn’t decided to do anything about it until I said something. This knowledge also had a huge impact on my life.

I have learned many lessons due to this experience. Not all of them were readily apparent at first, but one of the major ones that I refer to daily is the realization that there is power in the littlest voice. One voice can make a world of difference, whether it be for one individual, or numerous individuals. Because of this I have learned to speak my mind and stand up for those less fortunate. I use my voice to educate; to inform people of other ways of life. I use my voice to help those in need. I use my voice because it is one of the few effective tools that I possess. For those that don’t have a voice, I am their voice. I want change in our society, and I realize that change comes slow, but I also realize that the potential for change is in each and every one of us. My actions lie in my words, and the knowledge that it only takes one.

For the nine year old that I was, it took a lot of courage for me to open my mouth concerning something that I did not know how to handle. For the 19 year old that I am, I know that I hold the power to make a change. Back then, it was one person. Today, who knows how many?