Colleen Cares | Teen Ink

Colleen Cares

November 3, 2008
By Anonymous

I was a freshman when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. As the media released numerous images and overwhelming stories, I became increasingly aware of the disaster the storm had caused. So many people, who had previously lived quite normal lives, were now desperately trying just to maintain their civilized nature. Only days before, these people were just like you and me. They had the same daily concerns, the same daily routines, and the same daily cares. Suddenly, however, the storm had consumed their lives. The people of a cultured and diverse American city were now living like those in a third-world country. It was devastating, and I felt the need to take action.

But what was I to do? After all, I was only a fourteen-year-old girl from a small town in New Jersey. Could I really make any difference?

I soon learned the answer was yes. Sure, maybe I could only better two lives, or even one. But that one life matters. So I set out to do what I could.

The year before, I had learned to crochet, and by this time, I was making beautiful scarves, rapidly, and in great quantities. Over the previous few months, many people had asked if they could pay me to make scarves for them. This was the perfect fund-raising opportunity! I picked up yarn and a hook, and I was off to work! I crocheted numerous scarves, and I sold great amounts of my products. My many hours of hard work allowed me to accumulate hundreds of dollars. I set up a bank account in which I could deposit the money, and I named my new organization, “Colleen Cares”. Soon, I proudly wrote a letter to the Red Cross, signed my first check, and sent a donation to the Hurricane Relief Funds.

This was the beginning of a service project that I would continue throughout my high school years. I have since contributed to Make-A-Wish Foundation and UNICEF, and I have crocheted prayer shawls for cancer patients. I also helped to found a club at my school, Sew Be It, in which members sew, crochet, and knit products to donate to local hospitals and other organizations.

By doing so, I have discovered a better since of myself as an ingredient in a community. I do not stand alone; I am part of a whole. In reaching out to others, I can reach out to myself. Realizing this has helped me to gain a deeper trust in humanity and a faith in the world around me.

William Arthur Ward once said, “Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige; it is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.” With this mindset, I strive to achieve such greatness.

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