This I Believe

Chrissy - La Grange, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

“Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.” This quote, stated by Barbara Bush, truly captures the feelings and thoughts that I experienced after leaving Kentucky last summer. As I worked and sweat for five days on a roof top, in the hot basking sun, I learned something that I will keep with me my whole life; giving to others is the best satisfaction that you can ever receive. Think about the time when you opened up a wrapped box on Christmas morning, and got your first glimpse of the gift that you had been waiting for all year. Now, multiply those feelings by a hundred and you can truly see how rewarding my experience was.

Last summer, I traveled to Kentucky with my church for an annual mission trip called, “The Appalachian Service Project.” When I arrived, it was nothing like I have ever seen before. I will never forget the feeling of the first time I laid eyes on my work site. It completely blew my mind how humans could actually survive on so little, and such horrible living conditions. Roofs caved in, walls torn down, leaks in the ceilings, were only a few of the destructions that these people had to deal with daily. As our van pulled down the gravel road for our first day of work, the locals poured out of their houses to greet us. Just seeing the excitement and hope in their eyes, made me ready for work. It was such an incredible feeling to know that I, only fifteen years old, could actually make a difference in someone else’s life. As the week went on, the sun got hotter, the work got harder, but the satisfaction got a lot greater. At times the work got very, very rough, but knowing that these people were depending on me, I never quit. The last day, I climbed down the ladder from the roof, and took a few steps back. Looking up at the roof that I helped rebuild, I said to myself, “wow”. It was truly amazing that in five days, a few hardworking teens and adults with some hammers and nails could make such an impact in somebody’s life. Just knowing that these people now had a safe and working roof over their heads made me feel so wonderful.

From this trip, I learned that giving is so much better than receiving. John D. Rockefeller Jr. quotes, “Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” Helping other people in need, whether it is something little or something drastic, is a value that I hope to keep with me my whole life. If you have the tools and resources to make a difference, why not use it to help people who don’t? I believe in giving.