I know that my life has been sheltered and easy compared to most people, and I am thankful for that. As a result, I do not have an earth-shattering story that will instantly change your life, but I do believe that my life has a purpose.
This year, on every early release school day, I have traveled with my church to some apartment homes. They are not very far away, but I can see a drastic difference in the lifestyles of the people there. Their homes have only a couple of bedrooms, and the stained carpet in the hallways along with the peeling wallpaper give hint to what their home is like. Some houses have five children or more sleeping in the same bedroom. Many homes have single parents, and they cannot spend as much time with their kids because they have to work. With little adult influence, the children are more likely to make bad decisions.
To reach out to them, we set up a kickball game and knock on doors to get children to come play with us. Every time we go, more and more children come and play with us. The games are always fun, and their cheerful faces show how much they appreciate us. While interacting with the kids, we try to make friends and be good influences on them. We also try to get them involved with a local church down the road from them that is struggling.
Shandon is my favorite kid. He loves to dance and skateboard. He is in the 6th grade, and helps his mom take care of his two younger brothers. One of the first things I noticed about Shandon was his big, wide grin. As we played with him, he danced and jumped around because of his excitement. When we videotaped him, he pulled some dance moves and acted crazy for the camera. His loud, penetrating laugh showed his sense of humor. Even though his family is in a rough financial situation, Shandon has a positive outlook on life. He taught me to realize how blessed I am, and to believe that my life has a purpose.
These experiences lead me to believe that I can use my gifts and talents to help others in need. It has helped motivate me in school so that I can get a better education and have a bigger influence in the world. Also, I can use my athleticism to coach, start a league, or just play with kids. I can use my guitar skills to teach lessons or lead them in song. I know that in my future, my actions will be influenced by this belief. I will find a way to use my gifts to beneficial others. Seeing the impact that I, a high school student, can make on these children is enough to make me feel useful in life. Don’t we all want to be needed? I have found this feeling through these kids.