From time to time, we all need to step out of the bubble that we call life and experience something new from someone else’s perspective.  One way to do this is to volunteer.  I was lucky enough to have that opportunity today with an event that I helped organize called Girl Connection.

The premise behind Girl Connection was to have an event for girls by girls.  The girls, ages 10-15, were from local Boys and Girls Clubs.  We hosted 3 workshops (relationships, money, and beauty), a self-defense session, and a fun Zumba class at the end.  By the end of the event, I felt both inspired and sad.  I felt inspired to volunteer more and mentor youth in the community, and I felt sad because these girls have probably gone through more in their short 12 years then I will in a lifetime.  Some of these girls have seen some horrific things, including abuse and violence.  Please don’t get me wrong…in no way do I feel sorry for these girls.  In fact, after today, I am certain that they will be our next doctors, nurses, teaches, engineers, etc.  How do I know this?  At the end of the event, the question was posed, “how many of you want to go to college?”  ALL OF THEM raised their hands!  I hope that they continue to be ambitious and curious, and more than anything, I hope that they continue to persevere and overcome everything life throws at them.

Overall, I feel really lucky and appreciative to have the life that I do.  My childhood was filled with laughter and love.    I had no worries in the world except getting my homework done and figuring out whose house my friends and I were going to have a sleepover at on the weekends.  There was hardly any stress or fear in my life.  And although I can’t say my adult life is stress-free, I can say that most of my stress is self-induced.  I have a wonderful family, a loving boyfriend, great friends, a great career, etc.  Honestly, it can’t get any better than this.  I am truly VERY lucky.

And even though I believe that we should all reflect on the things we have and be more appreciative, I don’t think that’s enough.  We need to take action, give back to the community, and really help those who weren’t blessed with the best lives.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  –Gandhi

By Parita

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