Service is an empowering and uniting action. No matter what belief you have or the lifestyle you live, service can bring differences together to find similarities. Through helping someone in need, we come together and learn not only about others but about ourselves. Everyone is unique with different skills and passions, and through those passions, each person can and needs to find a way they can contribute. I have had the opportunity to serve in my community through the American Sign Language Club at my school. For an activity we “heart attacked” the local deaf center by cutting out paper hearts and writing loving notes. Later we as officers met at the deaf center and worked together to tape up all of the hearts. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the other officers while also seeing some of the Deaf community members smiling and thanking us. I learned that even though it was a very simple project, love was given and received on both ends. Each individual officer and Deaf citizen is different, but we all came together and were unified during that time of service.
We need to put our selfish, human desires aside, and through that, we develop personal relationships with those around us. That could be a father coming home exhausted from work but going and playing with his kids to give his wife a break. Or a hungry mother who gives her last bite to her child because she knows what they need in order to grow up to make a difference. She knows they will be the ones who will make selfless sacrifices for their children in the future. It is a retired neighbor who sees that a mother is sick so they bring over dinner. It doesn’t matter to that neighbor that they don’t go to the same church, or have the same political views, or are at completely different stages in life. She has a talent for making food, so she chooses to grow her strength while assisting her neighbor by making that mother and her family dinner and letting them know they are loved. It is the individual efforts of every person who lives in this state that unifies America.
Inclusion is what unifies America. I work with individuals with disabilities and the most beautiful thing I see is the push for inclusion at my school. Our friend with a disability was nominated by the student body for prom king and won. My school is very diverse in a variety of ways. I see students of all different ethnicities, genders, religions, and cultures. There is a lot of division. Many students stick to the group they feel they relate the most with. It is often difficult to imagine that our school could agree on something or show so much love for one thing. But that night of Prom with our friend was crowned king and danced with the queen, there was not a single person worrying about what anyone was wearing, how they were dancing, or what song was playing. Every single person was smiling and adoring our friend and the light he has brought to our school. In reality, every individual has needs. While our friends with special needs have more prominent disabilities, we all have things we need help with. We all have good and bad things that people notice. But if we viewed others in the same light that we view our friends with Special needs, we would see a whole lot more of the good. There is so much good in everyone and when we work together and see the good in others, we become united Americans.