Change: More than Coins

Damond - SAN FRANCISCO, California
Entered on June 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe I can make a difference. I believe to make a true difference, one must live it: from the classroom to the streets to the comforts of home to beyond comprehension. Phrases like “Pick up trash to save the environment!” and “You can do anything if you put your mind to it!” fill my head as I write this. I find that I cannot dedicate myself to something unless I impose it upon myself, not submissively follow what everyone else believes. The greatest testament of belief is to define your own world. A statement I try to live by is one of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Hurricane Katrina occurred in August 2005, yet the repercussions live on today. I will be heading down to New Orleans this summer with my church group.

When this natural event happened, I was just a simple freshman watching the ten o’clock news. What I saw on television was devastating to say the least. Thousands upon thousands of people were suffering and here I was in the comfort of my warm, cozy bed. I felt the need to do something, but I was halfway across the country. Sure, I gave to the charity fund at Sacred Heart, but nothing tangible, nothing worthwhile, nothing vital was getting done.

Two years later, when this trip was first announced I did not really want to go. I felt it was too far and New Orleans should have been restored by now. At the time, Hurricane Katrina was a thing of the past in my eyes. There were plenty of problems closer to home that needed dire assistance. When it came down to it, I thought back to those sights and sounds on the news that August night. I could not even dream about that happening here in San Francisco: cherished loved ones misplaced, intoxicated waters inundating the city, necessities running dangerously low, and a loss of hope.

My personal reason for going is to make change, not just nickels and dimes but real revolutions that I feel are important. The people of New Orleans still need help and I will not be one to turn down that call.

In retrospect, I am a drop of water and the world a colossal pond. What I do now may not seem like much in the whole scheme of things, but these actions can cause ripples that change that very scheme.

This I believe.