This I Believe

Jennifer - Alanson, Michigan
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in unselfish kindness

I never console myself with thoughts that I have done enough for others. How can I have done enough when so many people in the world are still suffering and in need? I can never give enough, love enough, forgive enough, or be grateful enough, that I’m fortunate and as privileged as I am. I believe in helping others, especially those less fortunate than myself, and expecting nothing in return.

History proves that the belief in kindness and helping people has been important to many in America since long ago. Kind, brave, individuals assisted numerous slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. They risked everything when they hid and helped run away slaves go north. In addition to housing run aways, people raised money for food, lodging, and clothing for them. I believe, and know, that these people did this out of compassion and need to help less fortunate people. I’m sure their beliefs were similar to mine.

After hurricane Katrina, several people were left homeless and without basic possessions. An enormous amount of people donated food, clothing, bedding, and money for the care of these people. I was touched when my sister announced she was giving up one of her dance classes and donating the money to Katrina victims. The way I was raised, helping each other was almost an expectation. I don’t help people in hope for a returned favor, but for the satisfaction that I lent a hand to someone and made their life a little easier.

“Children in your community, school, even your own classroom, will go hungry this Christmas without your help”. Sitting in my 5th grade classroom reading this food drive flyer, I felt a sense of sadness. I thought “are there really people in my class who are in need?” I decided to help as much as I could. When I got home I went through our cupboards, almost emptying them of all non-perishables, even my favorite S’mores Pop-tarts had to go. There were hungry kids out there! My mom helped me carry the three, considerably sized, heavy paper bags into the school Monday morning. I stacked my cans and boxes on top of the small pile with a smile, turning it into a mountain of food. I was helping someone for unselfish reasons, and that felt good.

It is our responsibility to make our world the best it can be. Every day I try to do my part in helping people. Ralph Emerson once said, “You can never do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” I believe in living by these words. I believe in helping people.