One-on-One. It can all start with you

As far as I know, each of us is given one life to live. How we choose to write our life story is entirely up to us. Have you thought about what legacy you want to leave behind? Or what kind of impact you would like to have on the people that cross your path on this journey? Some might think that in this ocean of humanity, what impact can one person make? Let me tell you a story that a staff member at a downtown youth drop-in center told me a few years ago.

One evening a young man came in right after the center opened. It was unusual for that young man. When the counselor asked him why he was so early that night, he shrugged his shoulders and mumbled something to the effect that he just did not want to miss any of his friends. The staff member asked if it was alright to sit with him while he waited. The teen did not seem to care, so he sat down with him. Conversation was all one-sided. The teen didn’t really want to engage at all. After 20 minutes or so, the teen was starting to open up when the topic of his favorite sport – hockey, came up. As the conversation continued, the counselor found out that the teen had just ran away from home after a huge fight with his mother and that was not the first time. He was disgusted with life and felt the need to get away from it all. The counselor spent the next two hours with this boy and showed him the love and kindness that a caring adult could provide. At the end of that long chat, the young man agreed to go back home and try some of the advice that the counselor had given him to improve the relationship with his mother. The counselor never saw that young men again until a few years later when they ran into each other at the mall. The young man was doing great, graduated from high school, got a job and was now living on his own. Then he said he had a confession to make. He told the counselor the reason he was there that evening at the drop-in center, was to say goodbye to his friends. He had made up his mind that he was going to take his life that evening. But that conversation with the counselor touched his heart and changed his mind. He found there was at least one person that cared about his well-being.

How amazing is that! Not all of us will become the prime minister or have some significant invention that saves the world. But all of us have the ability to make a positive impact in someone’s life. Whether it is a kind word spoken or a random act of kindness or delivering a much-needed food basket. No matter how small you think it might be, you may never know how big an impact you have just made on the other person’s life if you make the effort.

Do you feel like you want to do something but just don’t know where to start? United Way is just the place for you. Thousands of volunteers across this country of ours do whatever they are able to help make their communities a better place for their fellow citizens, one good deed at a time. This is the power of United Way! When a group of like-minded individuals, working together, are driven by an unquenchable passion and a compelling vision, they can start a movement. When the movement gathers momentum, we start a revolution! Here at United Way, we are starting a revolution! Together, we will change the power of poverty! Come join us in this revolution and make a difference in your community.