“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something…” Take a moment to ponder which American president made this statement and, true to his beliefs, followed through.
He not only served his country, he was ethical, looked for the positive in people and situations and sought ways to make a difference during and far beyond his term of office as a diplomat and hands-on advocate for Habitat for Humanity. If you guessed this quote was from Jimmy Carter, you’re right. Here’s the rest of it:
“…My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
When I look around our community, I see others serving with the same commitment, quietly making a difference. There is no possibility of including all the names; most of these good souls serve from their hearts in quiet because they don’t crave notoriety.
This is not an all-inclusive list (due to space) but here are some deeds and actions that might go unnoticed or unappreciated:
- People who make anonymous donations to organizations that need support to continue their good works.
- The individuals that set up, prepare and clean up so the event is a success.
- Volunteers who come into our schools, fundraise and reach out to our educators with appreciation for all they do for our children.
- Organizations that are created to help those in need, with no motive except to fill a niche that reaches those who may need support.
- Parishioners who hold the hand of a newcomer, dry the tears of grief with hugs and warmth, and live with dignity.
- Those who participate in Go Fund Me or similar sites for victims seeking assistance when other avenues are closed.
- Citizens who donate to United Way, the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Hope for Haiti, PAWS Assistance Dogs, BT Hero House and similar organizations who are out there providing medical care, sustenance and support.
- Community members who genuinely love the island life and tirelessly work to better it with their upbeat attitudes and willingness to participate and not just “take.”
- Idea generators who bring fresh ideas without judgment about what’s already been tried.
- Our military, law enforcement, emergency medical teams who, despite an atmosphere of unrest, continue to provide first rate contributions to the welfare of our community and country.
- Caregivers and physicians who reach out to patients, friends, neighbors and strangers to smooth the bumps along their medical journeys.
- Members of service industries that provide that “extra something” that enables you to relax and enjoy life.
- Wildlife lovers that identify our dolphins, protect our flying friends and turtles, raise puppies for assistance dogs, and neuter local cats.
- Well-wishers that always greet you with a smile and a helping hand, a joke or a positive thought for the day.
- Litter-picker-uppers, the cleaners of beaches, sidewalks, roads, hotel rooms, public restrooms, parking lots and roadsides where others have negligently thrown their debris (shame on you).
- Mechanics, electricians, plumbers who work honorably and honestly.
- Sports participants who take personal pride in their performances and perform with integrity on and off the fields or courts.
- Recorders of our history, commentators who sculpt the goings-on in our world and aren’t afraid to admit a mistake or take on a challenge.
- Teachers, artists, musicians, scientists who are doggedly trying to improve our world one student, a piece de resistance, or one invention at a time so the future is brighter for all.
Hopefully, you’ve recognized many friends, acquaintances and community members that comprise these groups. They are the “Points of Light” folks who are making a difference, albeit a quiet one, for the rest of us.
Nelson Mandela said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
Will you make a difference? Happy New Year!
Jory Westberry has been a dedicated educator for over 40 years, the last 14 as Principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary, where she left her heart. Life is rich with things to learn, ponder and enjoy so let’s get on with the journey together!