17 February 2014
It is my freshmen year of high school at Alief Hastings Ninth Grade Center. The hallways were filled with its school spirit and posters covered the walls as they quoted encouragement. I remember the first time seeing the tsunami disaster on television during advisory class. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first as anyone else did, but I recall the teachers getting together and creating a charity to benefit the tsunami victims. I really didn’t care much for charities or anything a group of people did all at once. But helping the staff of teachers with the Tsunami Relief Fund changed my life of bystanding and giving by allowing me to sympathize with the victims of the storm. I learned the meaning of benevolence through serving, while becoming an example for generosity to my academic peers.
The Tsunami of 2004 was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Its victims were numbered millions along the coastlines, even killing thousands and creating homelessness from Africa to Thailand.
I remember watching the news that Friday evening following school and seeing the devastation. It painted dreadful images in my head. Even some I related to my past tribulations of experiencing homelessness. At that time seeing the aftermath of the tragedy, I can recall feelings of grief, sadness, and remorse. My heart longed for every persons affected peace. And in those moments I felt a strong desire to aid in any way I could. I wanted to serve. I wanted to give. Subsequently, I came up with an idea to collect donations at my local supermarket.
First, I assembled a small team of volunteers. I felt I needed genuine people on my team who had hearts of gold, with no alternative motive towards helping with collecting donations. So I found some of the cutest kids in my neighborhood from ages 6-12 who could charm your money out of your pockets and cry at any sign of rejection. Moreover, I paid them in candy, so finding last minute volunteers didn’t create hassle.
Next, I designed posters and boards for advertising with bold lettering and bright colors. I created t-shirts and decorated buckets I found from my home. Though my team of volunteers were young, we were organized and uniformed. We understood the purpose of our serving and we became focused on one agenda, getting donations.
Later, after serving for 4 hours and collecting money from the store front. I took all the donations home and counted all the monies. I wrote the total number of cash on a plastic bag as well as the total number of coins by quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. After putting the money in the bag, I sealed it and placed the bag in an aluminum case. I barely slept through the night as I lied next to the case. It was as if I were safeguarding it from a thief, but on the contrary there was nothing to worry about. I was just excited about giving all of the six to seven hundred dollars to the Tsunami Relief Fund.
The next day I walked into a teacher’s classroom where the director of the charity was sitting down. Her head was laying in