Community. It’s something that I hold near and dear to my heart. I take pride in my community. My town is named Fresno, but I am always the one person that you can guarantee to lovingly call it “Fres-YES!”
All my life, I have tried my best to, in various ways give back to my community. From a young age, my mother taught me the importance of giving back to others, to support our fellow members of this community, to ensure that our community flourishes.
At the young age of five, my mother already had me participating in my childhood school district’s annual holiday food drive. We would go out there on the day of the food drive, and despite my being small, I would help to gather the food and give it to the families in need to ensure their had enough food for their loved ones over our winter break. Every year, like clockwork, my mother and I would be out there again, and as I got older, I would help my mom sort out boxes to be used for the food boxes, preparing them for the volunteers to place the food in prior to being distributed to the families.
One year, I brought candy canes to the event and handed them to all of the children that came with the families to collect their food. I would ask the children if they wanted a candy cane, and watched their eyes light up with childish glee, excited by the prospect of a special Christmas treat all for them. Handing out candy canes soon became a tradition at the holiday food drive.
When I was in middle school, I began to participate in American Cancer Society events in my town. It wasn’t until my grandfather passed away after fighting a battle against cancer that I really poured my efforts into volunteering and becoming very involved in the American Cancer Society in my region.
I took on positions on the entertainment committee, helping to organize music, games, and other forms of entertainment for the local Relay for Life event. I worked on the registration committee, and was also a team captain for my high school team my senior year.
Just earlier this year, I took on a position as the event fundraiser and committee volunteer for Bark for Life, an American Cancer Society event that focuses on the power of canine caregivers, and the love and support their give to their owners that are undergoing cancer treatment. And like the money raised from Relay for Life, all proceeds from this event went to supporting cancer patients in the region.
Through all of my volunteering for various organization and just lending out a helping hand wherever I could, such as feeding and supplying clothes to the homeless, I know it’s all for the same reason: my community.
My community means everything to me, and as long as there is air in my lungs, I will continue to give everything I have, even if it’s just my time, to my community.
The saying goes that charity starts at home. And it does. Yes, we have a greater commitment to our country and all of mankind, but the biggest impacts really come from when we go out into our local communities and give.
Whether it be your neighbors and friends or community events such as Relay for Life, there is such satisfaction in knowing that you are helping to make the place you call home, the place that you go to school or to work in every day, a better place.
So as we enter the giving and holiday season, remember to go out into your community and give your time and support. Find a cause that speaks to your heart, or just simply find someone that could use your assistance. Make change in your community. Make it a better place. Home is where the heart is, so give your heart to your community.