Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Volunteerism Story

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.


One day can change your life. And no, I’m not talking about the day I was crowned Miss International 2013, I’m talking about May 27, 2009. On this day I was wrapping up a two week missionary trip to Kenya in the tiny and destitute village of Embulbul. To get there was an arduous process of significant fundraising, culture immersion, and heath screenings – but I knew it would be worth it. On this day, like each before, we filled our water bottles with the clean water we were guaranteed and ventured out to the school we had been working with without giving it much thought. My little friend, 5 year-old Valentine, saw this water bottle and looked up at me, her eyes twinkling, and said “water is magic”. No sooner did the moment sink in did I see Valentine run over to a trough of standing, contaminated water, scoop it into her hands, and drink it. Clean water. Our most basic human need, and they had none.

When I arrived home, moved and deeply affected, I noticed that my school was fundraising for a water tower in an African village. We were going to give little Valentine the resource that she so needed. And this wasn’t made possible because I hopped on a plane and performed a grand gesture, but by volunteerism. It was because of volunteers: time, energy, contribution – that dollar by dollar, hour by hour, this priceless gift would be possible. And in that moment of realization, my life would never be the same.

The lesson is this – each act, each contribution – no matter how small is building towards a greater impact. It is these small acts that change the world.

One of the defining moments of my life – being tickled by precious Kenyan children to the point of laughing tears of joy

My sweet Valentine – the girl that changed everything

Seek Happiness,

Jesse

1 comment:

  1. I once was little sweet Valentine growing up in a third world country. Access to clean water should be a right!

    -Miss Haiti International 2014 Regine Pierre

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