Eye-Opener This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Last March I was fortunate to take a school trip to New York City, the city that never sleeps. We would spend three days touring museums, eating ethnic food, and shopping. There would be a gaggle of women walking around sporting a plethora of designer handbags, each worth more than one person might earn in a week. New York City was truly an eye-opener for me and made me realize that the world needs to be changed.

Walking down just one city street, we find many designer stores. Women, children, men of all ages pour through the doors to buy the best of the best from this materialistic world. A woman walking down the street in a warm fur coat pushes by a homeless man wearing just a tattered T-shirt and a pair of dirty jeans. The woman is headed toward Armani to buy her daughter clothes for her birthday. This man has nothing in his life. To him, it would be a big deal to even borrow a warm sweatshirt, let alone own one. The woman continues without a glance at this frail man.

On another street, people are lined up outside of a fancy restaurant, where they will pay hundreds of dollars just to get a table so that they might spot a movie star. Next door, people are sitting at tables in McDonald’s greedily munching their Big Macs and large fries. The people look well-fed but still order the large size. They scarf a few fries, then throw the rest away realizing they are full. Two blocks away a filthy, legless man in a wheelchair is going through a trash receptacle outside a restaurant. One by one he picks out fries and puts them in his mouth, and the hunger slowly melts away. Fortunately, one of my teachers noticed and bought him a meal. The man thanked him sincerely. He probably hadn’t had a real meal in weeks, and the excitement on his face as he unwrapped his burger was enough to make anyone realize that they too can help.

People are too concerned with their own well-being and don’t take time to look at the world around them. New York City is a world of extremes. In the end, giving to another person provides more satisfaction than indulging in materialistic pleasures. One by one we can make a difference, even if it’s only donating clothes to the Salvation Army or giving canned goods to a food pantry. Items that some may take for granted can be truly appreciated by the needy people of the world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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