Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Sophie’s Choice

Name: Juan C Morales
From: MIAMI, Florida
Grade: onemrls@gmail.com
School: onemrls@gmail.com
Votes: 0

Sophie’s
Choice

BEEP,
BEEP, BEEP. At the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning, an
unrelenting alarm clock sounded off just as my father walked in as
back up. The call for action was to clean up a portion of South Miami
Beach. I went reluctantly knowing that putting up a fight would do
nothing but exhaust me. The entire car ride I offered my father a
hostile attitude, as the only sign of intelligent life was the car
engine
s hum.

I
expected to show up and see three people with long hair and tie dye
t-shirts ready to clean up the beach; however, I got there to find
hundreds of people from different walks of life ready to better their
community. This sight floored me. I focused in on a bubbly 7-year-old
with bouncing pigtails who crouched down to pick up an aluminum can
next to a silver haired man happy to be of service. He caught my gaze
and approached us, welcoming our efforts and instantly making us feel
loved:
Thanks for coming. Great to see
young people working for the community and not just strolling down
Ocean.
Just then Sophie, the 7-year-old
ran to us, hauling a bag of garbage twice her size. Excitedly she
proclaimed,
“He’s on my team!
pointing to me. Right then I learned this moment
was bigger than myself. I couldn
t
imagine hundreds of people waking up at 5 in the morning to do
anything let alone clean up a beach. To my surprise these people
couldn
t have been happier about their
situation. There were no quarrels over politics or lifestyles.
Everyone
s only goal was cleaning up the
beach for the time we were there.

I
went from wanting to jump out of the car on the way there to
regretting not coming earlier. For once I wasn
t
doing something because it
d be
advantageous to me. The work we put in that morning allowed families
to enjoy the beach that I
ve loved since
I was Sophie
s age. Lessons learned that
morning were plentiful. After a fruitful clean up, I sat by the shore
to steal a few silent moments alone when Sophie splashed my feet:
I
can
t believe we did it. You know my mom
says I can
t go to art class after school
anymore. But now I have the bestest art studio ever. I am going to
come to the beach and draw and build castles and do cool stuff every
day!
The best lesson didnt
come from the wise that day; it came from Sophie and her radiant
smile. She filled me with gratitude for my dad, for our life, but
also I felt capable of effecting change on a very personal level.
Sophie now has her art studio.


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