The American Creed Through Action

In my essay I discuss what I believe the American Creed is, and how we can promote it through action. Change doesn't need to mean a big commitment or a large cost, and can be as easy as helping a neighbor.

By Henry S. from Staples High School in Connecticut

 The United states is a country which was built by opportunity. Since the beginning, the United States has been a beacon of hope to many. The first settlers to arrive where in search of a new safe haven full of opportunity and free from the religious persecution and governmental control of their previous homes. Unfortunately the opportunity America poses is not in reach of everyone. Almost 13% of all Americans live below the poverty line, with many more requiring help. By actively participating in your community you can provide new opportunity to others and help create a better America.

One of the easiest ways to help your community and those who are less fortunate, is to volunteer some of your time to local organisations and charities. Volunteering is a great and easy way to directly help your community and those in need, at almost no cost. An estimated 25% of all American citizens say they volunteer, and that number is continuing to grow. In one moment you may have the time and ability to help out and volunteer, where as in another moment you may be at the receiving end of someone's generosity and volunteering efforts. By donating some of your time to charity you give back to the community you live in and appreciate, all while creating a more opportunistic America for everyone.

Volunteering is not a new idea either, as Americans have been helping each other for centuries. In 1736 the first volunteer fire brigade was formed with the help of Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin’s new fire brigade nicknamed the “Bucket Brigade” was different than former fire brigades because rather than only service those who were members of it, it serviced the whole community and asked for no repayments. Volunteer fire departments were just the beginning of the American volunteering scene. During the revolutionary war some American militias were made up entirely of volunteers. Referred to as “Minute Men” they were always ready and willing to risk their lives at a moments notice for the greater good of their country. In the early 19th century the first charity organisations began appearing, organisations such as the YMCA, and the Red Cross where founded and have continued to be prominent organisations today. By the 20th century volunteering had become a mainstream activity, practiced by thousands of Americans. More organisations such as the Rotary club were formed around volunteering and creating opportunity. It didn't stop here either, from the great depression, to WW2, Americans stepped up to help each other, and improve their country. Without volunteering America wouldn't be where it is today.

If you don't have the time to volunteer with a local organisation or just help out a person in need, there are other ways to improve America and provide greater opportunity. Another very easy way to help your community is to vote. As an American you are given the invaluable right to have a say in who governs your country. While the effect of voting is less direct and instantaneous than volunteering it still can have a massive positive impact on people's lives. By casting an educated vote for a leader who you think could provide greater opportunity to the people of the United States, you are potentially changing millions of people's lives for the better. An estimated 60% of the U.S. population goes to the polls to vote, and every vote counts. Not only is voting an effective way to make change, it's also a very easy way. While it is true that it can take up to thirty-five minutes to vote, making the time in your scheduled to go to the polls is worth it, and a small price to pay for a better America.

Making change doesn't always mean a big commitment, or solving a difficult problem. You can easily improve your community by giving a little of your time to helping organisations and charities, both big and small. Volunteering has been part of American life for centuries and has continually created greater opportunity for Americans in need. Things as simple as putting a little thought into the politician you would like to vote for, and taking the few minutes out of your day to cast that vote, can make immense change in the opportunity America poses to not only those in need, but instead to every American. These practices which have existed for centuries are simple to do, and can have drastic positive impacts on the lives of others. Without the generosity and voluntary efforts of generations of Americans, America would not be as it stands today. 

Works Cited:

Katakam, Anand. “An Interactive Map of How Long Voting Takes in Your State.” Vox, Vox, 9 Oct. 2014, www.vox.com/2014/10/9/6951251/map-voting-time-by-state.

Lexington Law. “45 Important Welfare Statistics for 2019.” Lexington Law, Lexington Law, 31 Dec. 2018, www.lexingtonlaw.com/blog/finance/welfare-statistics.html.

Norma. “Volunteering: History of an American Value.” Engaging Volunteers, Engaging Volunteers, 18 Apr. 2013, https://blogs.volunteermatch.org/engagingvolunteers/2013/04/18/volunteering-history-of-an-american-value/

Patterson, Thom. “Stats Reveal How Many Americans Volunteer.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 July 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/07/19/us/volunteering-statistics-cfc/index.html.

Stewart, Emily. “2018's Record-Setting Voter Turnout, in One Chart.” Vox, Vox, 19 Nov. 2018, www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/19/18103110/2018-midterm-elections-turnout.

“Union Fire Company.” Benjamin Franklin Historical Society, Benjamin Franklin Historical Society, www.benjamin-franklin-history.org/union-fire-company/.

Staples High School

Bauks 2A

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