From a young age I have been taught the importance of caring for the people around me and putting others before myself. My parents and the Catholic environment I have grown up in has instilled in me the value of selflessness and working for a common good.
I have volunteered with a local nonprofit, The Audacity Performing Arts Project, for the past three years and every time I volunteer I am taken aback by how much kindness goes into the work accomplished. Audacity works to give youth in low-income neighborhoods the opportunity to experience the arts in an environment where that would not usually be available to them. This program is the only way that these children have access to theater arts, and sharing the gift of theater with them, is something truly profound. The founder of Audacity, Louis Stone-Collonge, has become someone I deeply admire, not only because of the work he does with all of Audacity’s students, but because of the positive way he affects people. He has said multiple times that at the core of his company is love; love for the students, love for the arts, and love for the community that has come together and works towards a common goal through this program. He has worked so hard to start this company and it thrives because of the love and compassion that he has put into all of these children. Many of the kids that Audacity works with have grown up in environments where tragedy is commonly experienced, but theater allows these children to be transported from their frightening realities and become who ever they want to be, even if it is for just a couple of hours.
I have, fortunately been able to see the experience that Audacity gives these children firsthand. As a volunteer I usually help build miniature portable sets that can be used at different schools in the area, and then help load the set in and set up sound and light gear for their productions. As I was setting up mics for a show, one of the younger children approached me and told me that when he grew up he wanted to be a DJ. So I showed him what all the buttons and sliders on the soundboard did and I let him check mics with me. The smile I received in return and the pure awe radiating off of him, solidified my belief that we are truly changing these children’s lives.
Being men and women for others means that putting others before ourselves is necessary to move the world forward and makes us better and more compassionate people. No matter how little or how much we have we can always find a way to give to someone else. Even if only one life is changed that is still an enormous accomplishment and can truly make a world of difference for that person.