Name: Gautam Bakliwal
From: Lubbock, Texas
School: Texas Tech University
Hope for Future
They hugged me tightly. One climbed my back, while the other stumbled in
front. I caught him in time. I was surrounded. I was trapped.
It’s two in the afternoon. I am around children. That’s what I do every
week since past year. Yet, it’s a new experience every day. I am
getting used to it. It has turned into a routine that I’ll probably
follow rest of my days in this city. I enjoy it. Not out of some
pride of doing noble work or changing the society. Of course, it
feels good to contribute to the society and improve lives of those
who would have otherwise been wasted but there are more reasons.
Observing these 4th graders grow reminds me of myself. Back in India,
I used to live in a village until 4th grade. Resources were scarce. I
can relate myself to these children. Most of them are from
poverty-stricken areas with families may or may not be willing to
support their education. My family supported my education. I never
imagined I would be in America a decade later. This is what I think
education can achieve. This is what gives me hope that these children
would break the barriers of poverty and would enjoy a better
well-being than they have been granted at birth.
The programs are designed to bring the education to a whole new level. If the
school molded the children, the after-school program at Hope polished
them into all rounded individuals. It didn’t just help students
become more book smart, but it also helped them become more social
smart, street smart and able to handle situations.
Every day after school, children from the Dupre Elementary would arrive at the
Hope Community of Shalom where we would be waiting for them. Although
the program followed a schedule, they had different activities every
day. Some days students would play games, dance, dabble or read
books, while other days they would try sports, make cards, go on a
scavenger hunt or work on personalized projects. The kids responded
well to the program, and slowly I started to develop a bond with
them. The more I worked with them, the more I realized how much they
matter to me.
But little did I know that while I was teaching
these kids, they would also be teaching me things. Every time a child
would misbehave, they taught me patience. Every time a child sought
my advice on his project or hold me out of love, it taught me that
they are dependent on me and I am important in their lives, and every
time they accomplished a task with success it gave me a sense of
accomplishment. Along with this, it gives a sense of purpose, a
motive to work, confidence in oneself and an opportunity to build
It is the effort of such communities that we
can look forward to a promising future of our upcoming generations
where every individual could enjoy better well-being.