Due to the time constraints of a quality education, interning, and trying to build a career, I often find myself wanting to do more for my community as well as the causes I’m passionate about, but simply can’t. I’m no Kal-El; I can’t do everything, though I try to. This is why I love the few opportunities I get to give back, and in one such instance, I’ve been involved in a pen pal project through Monmouth University’s Writing Center, at which I’ve worked for almost two years.
In short, I’ve been exchanging letters with a fifth grader named Kervens, from the Asbury Park school system. The intention of the program is to inspire young students to work hard and to connect with writing assistants as mentors. But, the impact isn’t a one-way street. The feeling of being able to guide, talk with, and inspire even one person is incomparable. While it is one I hope to achieve through my writing, knowing that I can do this from something as small as writing a few letters is an experience that I will carry with me throughout my career, wherever it takes me.
It isn’t often that I get to work with other people and inspire them in any significant way, but this has been a reminder that it doesn’t take punch cards or shifts to make a difference; you don’t have to be an AA sponsor, program leader, or missionary to do something good for those around you. All it takes is a smile and the strength to reach out and say, “Hi, I’m ___. Nice to meet you.”
Maybe you, like me, are really busy. Maybe you can’t dedicate a couple hours a week or any significant amount of money to help others, and that’s okay. Changing the world starts with little things. Pleases and thank yous, holding the door for others, making someone laugh–these are pretty easy to do. So take a minute–even just one minute, one day a week–to make someone smile. It’s worth a lot more than most think.