Words, action follow tsunami
When I sat down to write my article this month, I was having terrible writer’s block. I couldn’t think of anything newsworthy happening at the high school. I wanted to write about something important that would make people think. My mind kept drifting back to the horrific tsunami that took place over winter break, so I decided to sit down and see what I could come up with.The more I began to talk about it with my parents, the more passionate I got. The discussion stirred so many emotions within me: terrible sadness, a feeling of helplessness, and even a little anger and guilt. It seemed so sad to me that it has to take an unfathomable tragedy such as this to make people give their money to a world cause. There is hunger, abandonment, war and destruction all over the world all the time.Now, don’t get me wrong, I am just as guilty of this accusation myself. While talking about it, I found myself trying to make excuses for not contributing more to relief efforts around the world. “I don’t have a job. I don’t know what I can do. Besides, the small amount of money that I could give wouldn’t do anything. …” I heard my voice trailing off.I have always considered myself a humanist, and soon I moved beyond my accusations and excuses, and began to think about the other side of things. At first I tried to imagine what it would be like to lose everything, to be orphaned with no family, home, or possessions. I have seen the pictures on TV, and I have read the articles written about the tsunami, but it was still very difficult for me to actually put myself in these thousands of children’s shoes.Instead, I began to ponder all of the life lessons that have come forth for my family and me in reflection upon this world tragedy. Perhaps most obviously is my desire to reach out and help others. I realized that any little thing I could do to help would be greatly appreciated in the grand scheme of things. It’s true that if a lot of people contribute small amounts, they can make a huge impact together.Naturally, I also regained an appreciation for all that I have. My family owns two houses and three cars. We do not think of ourselves as wealthy people, but compared to the majority of the world we are very affluent. We live in one of the most gorgeous places around, and we have had so many incredible experiences and opportunities in our lifetimes. Although we may not think so day-to-day, we are very lucky indeed.Yet the thought that hit home the most for me during our talk, was the cliché phrase “live for today.” Anyone who knows me really well would know that I am a big dreamer. I have tons of plans and aspirations for myself in the future. Thinking about how fast life can change, reinforced in me that I need to pursue my life and dreams with full gusto. Who knows what can happen in the blink of an eye? I want to live with no regrets in a way that I can be proud of. To quote another favorite song of mine by the Dave Matthews Band, “Life is short but sweet for certain.”All of the talk inspired me to finally take action. I got on the Internet and found, then printed, a list of organizations to donate to for tsunami relief. I am choosing one or two to contribute to. If you need any suggestions, here are some of the sites that I found. All of them are nonprofit and take donations all year-round in order to help crises around the world: Direct Relief International – http://www.directrelief.org; Feed the Children – http://www.feedthechildren.org; Mercy Corps – http://www.mercycorps.org; Project HOPE – http://www.projecthope.org; Save the Children – http://www.savethechildren.org; UNICEF – http://www.unicef.org. Remember that even a small amount will make a difference.Cassidy Willey is a junior at Glenwood Springs High School. She writes a column twice a month for the Post Independent.Cassidy Willey is a junior at Glenwood Springs High School. She writes a column twice a month for the Post Independent.
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