This I Believe

Joanna - Georgetown, Texas
Entered on September 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in self-sacrifice. Without making sacrifices, even small ones, I would be living a life embedded in selfishness with no purpose. I have learned from the great heroes of our past and the everyday heroes of the present about self-sacrifice. The most important lessons I’ve learned though, are from the people that have played an integral role in my life. They have taught me that to make a difference you don’t have be a saint or do extraordinary things. You can even make mistakes along the way. The only thing that is important is that you continue to give of yourself.

My parents sacrificed their time, financial security, and sometimes their sanity so that their children could have every opportunity available to them. As a soldier, my husband continues to sacrifice his safety for the safety of our nation and the communities in the Middle East. I have and will sacrifice my financial security and at time possibly my safety for not just this nation but other countries that are in need. I spend my time now gathering the knowledge that I will need to make a positive impact on society. I may not have extraordinary knowledge to impart on the world but I have the motivation to spend my life trying to empower those that feel as though they don’t have a voice.

A couple of years ago I took my first steps toward understanding what self-sacrifice really meant as it related to public service. I joined a nonprofit organization called Americorps. I was a full time volunteer which meant I volunteered around 60 hours a week. I was an emergency responder which meant I was on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Sometimes the work we did was rewarding and sometimes it was an unbearable struggle. Being part of a small team, in the midst of these disasters, it was hard to see the impact that a few hands were making. I had to constantly remind myself that although it might not always be evident, I was making a difference. The “thank yous” and smiles I received along the way solidified my belief in self-sacrifice. I am now devoting the next couple years to learning all I can about the social work profession in hopes that I can better serve those that are in need because I believe that to be effective you must arm yourself with the necessary tools.

Because I am human I know that my belief in self-sacrifice may falter as many beliefs do but my hope is that my constant yearning to help others will keep me on track. I will devote many weekends, nights, and vacation days to working on policies to help individuals in our society thrive instead of just barely survive. I will work in the field of public service instead of self service. I believe that with self-sacrifice we can contribute to a future that allows a child born anywhere in the world to be afforded the same opportunities.