Service Rocks

April 13, 2011
By , Mendham, NJ
Greatness comes in many shapes and forms. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was indeed great, as was Eleanor Roosevelt. What would two people of different sexes, races, and religions have in common? A lot. They were parents, public figures, and most important, Roosevelt and King both had a very strong belief that America had to change, and that they could play a role.

As First Lady, Roosevelt worked to make life better for millions across America. A leader of the civil-rights movement, King changed the lives of millions as well. When children open their history books, these are among the great people they read about.

However, they will not see Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan. Why should King take precedence over Spears when people clearly download the song “Piece of Me” from iTunes more than they listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech? Why should people read the name Roosevelt more than Lohan in history books when Lohan has been on the cover of People magazine many more times than Roosevelt?

There is a simple answer: because Roosevelt and King served. Both selflessly devoted themselves to their nation. While Spears and Lohan may distract children from reading their history books, they will never be in them. Decades from today people will not remember what Spears wore to the Grammies or how many times Lohan went to rehab. They will remember how Roosevelt made sure that many Americans had decent clothes on their backs and how King marched on Washington.

As King said, “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve,” and in serving people become great. Anyone can make an impact on the world by lending a hand.

Maggie Doyne, who graduated from my high school, recently started helping poor children in Nepal. Instead of going straight to college, she started out in a program of students that toured Third World countries to help them rebuild after the tsunami, then went to Nepal. Moved by what she saw, she decided to build a school and orphanage where children could find sanctuary. She started it with her babysitting earnings. Then our community began to support her. Our middle school had a fundraising dance for her program, Blink Now (blinknow.org), and raised enough money to send 180 kids to school. She has since won several philanthropy awards, including a $100,000 grand prize in a contest run by www.DoSomething.org. When Doyne started she was a student; now she is teaching everyone a lesson.

By selflessly dedicating herself to helping others Doyne became great. She was only 21 years old when she opened her orphanage. The message she gave to me is the same message King gave in his quote: Anyone can be a hero if they are willing to serve. Many people, including myself, still believe King is a hero. He was willing to serve. Many people, including me, still believe Roosevelt is a hero. She was willing to serve. My entire town believes that Maggie Doyne is a hero. She is still serving. Greatness comes in many shapes and forms. But one thing is constant, service.





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