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F.A.C.Eing Why "i serve"

October I attended the Scholastic F.A.C.E. symposium. I would like to start this blog entry by saying “thank you” to all of those who attended and for all the positive feedback, comments, and conversations that I had at the symposium and afterwards. I really enjoyed the session. Every time I see the Beyond the Bricks, it seems a little different. Whenever I see the documentary I start to tear and I am reminded of my personal struggles, and the victories that happened as a result of them. I know that the struggles of my past are not the last that I will face. Not only was I able to celebrate my victories alone, I got to celebrate them with everyone that attended. I was once told two things by someone I consider wise: “Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins” and “include others as much as possible.” I feel as though I was able to accomplish both at the symposium. I look forward to future screenings, and symposiums.
My hope is that my story will continue to inspire others and function as a call to action and service. I see the change that is happening as a result of the documentary. While I feel that it is changing lives and inspiring people, I believe that there is yet more to be done. To get a person fired up is just one part of the equation. The more important part of the equation is what is that person (you) doing when you get home or in the immediate hours following the film, and looking to the future. Do you ask yourself the question “what must I do, or what can I do?” After watching the documentary several times I chose to devote a year my life to service. Not just service, but service that directly affects the lives of children.
In my last entry I promised to post my "i serve" statement, so here it is… I serve because I believe in service to a cause greater than one’s self. I serve because I believe in the power of young people. I believe in the Swahili philosophy of Ubuntu, which means I am who I am because of who you are. I serve because I believe in City Year’s founding story and principle of “moccasins,” which is belief in empathy and understanding, one that advocates a non-judgmental outlook, and facilitates the creation of middle ground while still remembering the human aspect. As young people we often forget that we have the power to do anything that is our hearts desire. We sometimes lack the knowledge to unlock the potential that is already inside us. As a corps member, I have a unique opportunity to use my story and life to impact youth. I strongly believe in these principles. And I know that I would not be the same if it were not for certain people who I have met over the years, like the Reddicks of Renaissance Church of Newark, Derek Koen and Ouida Washington of Washington Koen Media Productions, and the Vivian Flowers of this world. I believe it would have been less challenging for me to go to college, graduate, and get a job in corporate America. Instead, I feel that it sends a more impactful statement about a person who is willing to drop what they are doing for a year of service. My hope is that by reminding myself of these values daily I will become a better corps member, person, and leader.

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