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'my community service hours' - Questbridge National College Match: Essay#1

Pirateking 2 / 4  
Sep 16, 2012   #1
Questbridge National College Match: Essay#1

Question:Tell us about an experience you have had or a concept you have learned about that intellectually excites you. Why does it interest you, and what does this tell us about you?

I am finally going to get my community service hours to graduate, I thought as I walked towards the Red Cross building, blatantly sticking with its window that was decorated with giant emblem. It was the summer of my junior year and I had nothing to do, besides I promised myself this summer I would get more hours.

I stepped into a classroom with my friend, and was surprised that only eight other kids were in this program with me. The program was called "Exploring Humanitarian Law", a concept I knew nothing about, except maybe the Geneva Conventions which I heard about in history class. As the first class progressed, I realized that a whole set of laws existed for governing how combatants fight during times of war. Like that a soldier cannot dress as a civilian or kill a prisoner of war. It seemed pretty apropos seeing as the whole internet and news was abuzz with the war in Syria, and the warlord Joseph Kony. Interesting topics, but I still maintained a blasï attitude.

Next week the teacher announced we would be having a guest speaker, a pastor who had started an organization for helping get underprivileged girls free from sex trafficking. He started his presentation with pictures of him in Beverly Hills, then his trip progressed to Thailand. Twelve hours ago, he was on the richest place in earth, and now he was in a slum so sordid and filthy it burned to keep his eyes open. A place so poor children were sold by parents, willingly. As I watched him tear up and continue to talk about this one girl he saved from prostitution, an eight year old girl, I began to realize than my problems of getting a new pair of shoes or video game was not that important.

The class went on and I learned more and more about the throes of war; child soldiers, landmine left in innocent villages and sexual abuse. These problems were bigger than me, what could I even do to help? The first step was coming to this program, education and knowledge were the second, and awareness was the final. By even coming here sacrificing a month of my summer break, my instructor said I was doing more than most people.

After that program ended, I felt like the Red Cross had given me more than community service hours. I had gained a comprehensive feel of the Red Cross's mission, and my place in the world. I left the building with a newfound respect for philanthropists, and the knowledge to educate my friends and family members.

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