Name: Michael Jones
From: Concord, New Hampshire
School: St.Paul's school
gift and a curse
my school day, my memory is a gift that allows me to easily recall
which part of the brain helps the body regulate heat or when to apply
the product rule. But, it’s also the “curse” which birthed
my motivation to help others many years ago.
was only 6. But, I clearly remember visiting a coastal village where
small children begged me for money in exchange for handmade, dirty,
beads. I peered up to my dad for understanding. But, I only saw a
pained look etched into his face like the time he received the call
that Aunt Tee Tee had died. I didn’t want my daddy to cry this
time like he did then. So, I yelled and pushed at the sea of
soiled faces around me, “No, go away. No!” But it was too
late to keep the pain from coming. This time it had touched my mother
and she started crying. I remember her soft, smooth, wet face
rub against mine as she scooped me up and whispered, “Michael,
no”, in my ear to calm me down. I looked over her shoulder and
saw daddy empty his old, brown wallet into the sea of fingers
swelling near his waist. As we made the long walk back to the
cruise ship, they explained to six year old me that they cry because
no children should have to feel bad, hurt or suffer, that everyone
should have the same Christmas and birthday presents I have. And
everyone’s family should get to ride a big, blue and white cruise
ship. This experience birthed my need to help stop the pain.
do I make a difference in the world by volunteering? Honestly,
I’m not sure. While I figure it out, I keep helping in various ways.
I stack books at my local library and read to the children that
visit. I play basketball with my 6-year-old neighbor, Jack.
He’s pretty good and I let him score on me sometimes because it makes
him laugh. I can’t believe I was ever that small. I give swim lessons
because it’s so much fun to see kids jumping off the diving board by
the end of the summer and screaming with excitement. I lead tours at
my school for prospective students because I like the look of relief
when they realize it’s not that scary. I take church bus trips
to South Georgia to aid immigrant children from various nations. I
mostly play basketball with them or read to them. I never help
the little girls make beaded necklaces because it still makes me too
sad. I need this scholarship so I can attend college and
continue to learn about people, places and things. Eventually,
I’ll figure out how to lessen the suffering for more people.
But, in the meantime I just help one person at a time and never
forget the pain, because thanks to my memory, I can’t.