This I Believe

Deborah - north little rock, Arkansas
Entered on October 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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What I believe in most is that kids are our future. I love playing games with them and helping them with what ever they need. Seeing kids that have so much energy and hope, gives me hope for the future. Even though the kids don’t know what they will be when they grow up they know they will grow up and they will make a difference. Kids want to make the world better, they dream of becoming fire fighters, astronauts, and doctors. They have the potential to become what ever they want to be. That is why I believe that kids are the future.

In high school I was in STARS. STARS is a fast growing student organized program. STARS means “Serving Today’s At Risk Students.” In STARS we visit elementary schools and play with the kids for an hour every other day. STARS has received many awards for excellence and community service, along with large grants to allow them to travel in and out the state. They believe that it “takes an entire community to raise a child.” STARS get the students involved in the community and school. It is a fun way to find out about the kids that will one day be taking care of you.

STARS volunteers would be assigned a class and then get to know the class. With in a few weeks we start to get to know one kid in particular. This kid becomes your “little friend.” They get their names “little friends” because they become our “little friends and we become their “big friends.” My favorite “little friend” was Elizabeth. At the beginning she didn’t know how to communicate with me because she could only speak Spanish. We worked hard on communicating. By the end of the year she was singing and playing with the other kids in decent English. At the beginning Elizabeth was so shy, she didn’t know what I was saying and she didn’t know how to tell me things. She was such a sweet heart! I also had little boy named Bryan in the same class. He started the year late, and became another one of my “little friends.” Bryan was shy too, but he at least knew how to speak English. He always wore his baseball hat. Even though kids weren’t aloud to wear hats for some reason he always did. He didn’t show up to school very often. At another school I only had one boy, Jayden, he was a hand full. He really liked to play, he was very restless and never wanted to share me. He would never let any other kids sit on my lap. He really was a nice kid but only to me. He really didn’t let any one else take care of him.

The kids soon knew what days we would be there and they got excited when we would show up. Kids attach themselves to others to make them feel wanted and not alone. They became a part of our lives. With in the year that we spent with the classes they talked to us, they opened up to us; they no longer saw the strangers that they saw when we first walked into the room. Those kids knew our names by the end of the year. They knew that we would be leaving at the end of the year, but some of us formed a bound that did not want to break. Some still see our “little friend” every once and a while. Our “ little friends” loved playing with us and we loved playing with them. Kids need some one in their lives that will be with them and love them and let them tell them things that they can’t tell anyone else. That is why STARS is such a popular group that gets invited to different schools every year. The only reason that people apply for STARS is do something that they love.

Parents see their babies one moment and the next minute they see grow up so fast, and they try to hold on to every minute that they can. Parents go to “baby and me” classes and then later they enroll them in little league or cheerleading, then when they get older the parents are in PTA just to stay anywhere near the kids. Kids see their parents as someone that are there when where they are needed but kids don’t like to talk to their parents about certain things. When kids are young they are open with their parents but as they get older they close off the lines of communication with them. When STARS volunteers visit our kids they are getting to the age when they begin to close off. That is where we come in. When kids have some one else to talk to they are less likely to grow up with a criminal records, and kids that connect with someone when they are young they are more likely to grow up and give back to their community.

STARS is not the only program out there for people to get involved in. There is Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is a larger form of STARS. They are a more nation wide group for people to get involved, but they have the same purpose. There are many different ways to help out kids even if you go to the shelter and hand out some toys that help. It shows that people do care and they can be nice and that just because you start out in a bad place doesn’t meant that is where you have to stay. When hurricane Katrina hit many schools and organizations donated clothes, toys, food, shoes, and their time to the victims, and some times that is that entire people need. Knowing there are people out there that care can change one or thousands of peoples lives. Getting involved is not hard; just Google “volunteer work” and millions of sites come up.

With in a year you can make a difference in one kid’s life and being a part of that is so rewarding. Beginning in STARS taught me that our younger siblings and underclassmen will be in charge of our lives once we get to the age that we are no longer able to take care of ourselves. The kids walking down the street, the kids that you hear about on the news, and the kids that people gave up are the future. They are people that can make a difference but they need someone to point them in the right direction. These kids will be the next president, congressman or women, teacher, and your grandchildren and great grandchildren. These kids are the future and we can help them make it.