When I joined a youth organization over four years ago, little did I know that it would change my life completely. This organization has given me friends from all over the world, leadership skills, and so much more. Older members consistently inspired me to do more in the organization and pushed me to be a better version of myself. As I continued in this organization, I was given the unwritten responsibility of passing the torch and motivating those younger than me. I worked my hardest not only to be a strong and effective leader, but also a kind and compassionate one. When I came across one girl in particular, who I will refer to here as Jamie, I knew that I could be the person to inspire her. Jamie had struggled with various medical and emotional issues, and I took it upon myself to ensure that she felt comfortable and included in the organization that had given me so much. As president, I always worked to make sure that no one, especially Jamie, felt like they lacked a place or felt rejected by their peers. During our chapter meetings, I focused on the little things, such as making sure I called on different people to speak. I made sure that groups were always chosen randomly so that no one would feel left out. Working to create an open, happy, and accepting environment, I hoped that everyone, including Jamie, would know they had a strong support system and people to turn to if they were ever feeling down.
I would always reach out to Jamie, whether at meetings or events or through social media. I texted her a few times each week to make sure she was enjoying her high school years and felt that she had someone to talk to. Knowing that someone was there to listen to what she had to say, whether it was about friend drama or more serious issues, made her feel like she wasn’t alone. I would sometimes spend hours talking to her, trying to make her feel better and assuage her fears. Because of my hard work and dedication, I was able to change Jamie’s life for the better. As a result, I have seen her become more confident and comfortable meeting new people and making friends. She has been able to strike up conversations with other members without appearing to be nervous. She no longer feels ostracized for her medical conditions or for any other reason and she has become a happier, more outgoing individual.
With this experience, I was able to give someone who desperately needed a friend and a shoulder to lean on so much more than she had hoped for. I was able to make a significant impact on someone that needed something more in life to get her through the hard times and the moments of self-doubt. Boosting her self-confidence has helped her grow into a leader herself, something that will continue to influence her future for the better.
I continue to reach out to Jamie as much as I can to remind her that she always has someone in her corner. She now knows that even when she feels alone, I am always there to listen and lend a helping hand. Giving her advice or even just being there to hear what she has to say has been enough to lift her up. Because of simply going out of my way for one person, I have changed not only her life, but those of other members. Other members have seen how much she has changed, and they know that I can always be that person to help them through something if they need. Helping Jamie has had a domino effect on others, and I now see her looking out for younger members and helping them through the tough times. Looking back, I am beyond grateful that I was able to pay it forward, and started the tradition of inclusion that will continue to be passed on in not only my chapter, but hopefully around the community and the world.