My Grain of Sand

My+Grain+of+Sand

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”Albert Schweitzer

I grew up in an environment that was quite different from most others. My parents work at the Salvation Army (SA), which is a church/organization that aims to help people and families that are in need of basic necessities like food, clothing, and many other things. For this reason, community service was very much a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I was always surrounded by people who were in most need.

Some of my closest friends who I met at the SA were victims of rape, stuck in poverty, women who suffered domestic abuse, alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members, and everything else you could think of.

One might think that this is an unfavorable environment for a child, but though it was not pretty, it was they who gave me the motivation to be different and make a change. To this day, I have given my heart and service to help the underprivileged as much as I could. That is why I have been a member and volunteer of the SA since the age of 12. I have organized children’s festivals and entertained kids since I was a teenager. The community centers that I volunteer at are often the only safe place that children have, a refuge from unimaginable situations in their schools, their neighborhoods, and regrettably, their own homes.

I have done everything from distributing food and clothing, teaching music and dance classes, delivering gifts to families in need, and volunteering as a summer camp counselor. I have cleaned houses, streets, and parks in the community. In addition, I participate in many fundraising events for the SA as well as being a “bell ringer” in the freezing cold during the Christmas season.

I have met numerous women who are sexually exploited by strip clubs and through prostitution. I used to be a member of an outreach program, where I had given limited access to the women and only seconds to see and exchange words with them. Many of the women that I meet might very much be sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. It breaks my heart to know that women continue to be trapped in this manner, and it is for this reason that I want to make their stories heard.

I continue doing volunteer work, however this year with the pandemic we couldn’t go visit our old friends in the nursy home. In fact, I couldn’t say goodbye to some of them before they went to heaven. God bless them. 

We weren’t able to do the activities we always do for the children, and we had to cancel all of our summer activities. That made me sad because God knows if for some of them, going to church was their moment of freedom. 

Having seen firsthand how much suffering there is in our world, I want to be a voice for those who feel that they don’t have one. That is why I decided that I was going to become a reporter.

I was born into a humble family. I am one of six siblings, with parents who are pastors of a church. Trips, vacations, and the luxury of eating out were never a part of my life. Though I never lived a life of comfort, I was and am privileged. I could have been abused, homeless, addicted to drugs, or even a gang member, but I am not any of those things. It is because I am privileged that I feel it is my duty to do something for those who are underprivileged. I want to make people aware of what is going on around them by making them angry and uncomfortable in order for them to react. Once I have their attention,  I want to make an impact in low-income communities by raising money for causes that I believe will make a real and lasting change. 

I’m not going to lie, this could sound amazing but I am scared. Scared that I am not good enough, that I don’t have what it takes. That maybe I should be doing something else. What I do know is that there is a reason why I grew up seeing all these things. Everything molded me and made me the person I am today. There has to be an answer for me out there. And I believe I am on the right path to find it.