(First in a series of student essays from Fall 2015 - enjoy*)
As a child growing up in Savannah Ga. I found myself facing struggles that helped me prepare for the up-hill battles I would encounter in life. Before the age of one, for some unapparent reason my biological mother placed me in a foster home, a government funded agency that houses and finds different homes for children who had various reasons for being there. The agency placed me in homes with people who qualified to be a foster parent for a few month’s here, 4-6 month’s there until I was placed into a home at the age of four that would change my course. A godly woman by the name of Alma Lilly Z. become the last mother I would know or call mom. She took me in and taught me more than enough about life, everything it offers, and the things it throws at you. Being taught responsibilities that consisted of daily chores such as cleaning all the bathrooms, emptying all the trashcans, cooking, vacuuming, dusting furniture, maintaining the lawn, and etc. taught me how to appreciate things, how important a person’s hygiene is, and how to survive without depending on anyone else for my well-being. My actual experience as a child led me to find understanding, peace, and a heart that cared; which leads to the reason I felt that cutting veterans hair for free at veterans village would uplift hearts of people who may be discouraged for unknown reasons.
Veterans Village is a government funded program designed for people who once served for the United States military. I was introduced to Veterans Village by a lovely lady name Melissa Soldani, an American History teacher at Tallahassee Community College. My first time volunteering to participate in an event that can be considered as giving back to the community, I had a chance to up-lift hearts of people who have found themselves a little off track with the pressures life has to offer. My first contribution to this event was food such as cake, chips, sodas, garlic bread, skittles and cookies. After seeing the expressions on the veteran’s faces gave me an idea that would improve this event. This idea was cutting their hair free-of-charge, while holding conversations that may help up-lift spirits. Every Thursday I would go and cut hair and eventually I got to know everyone and they got use to looking forward to the free haircut and conversations we would have.
The first day of cutting I met a few people who are current residents to this establishment by the names of Waverly Sterling, an ex-military veteran; Philly, an Air Force veteran; Tiffany Hill, an ex-military veteran who retired from the army; Alex Marquez Jr., a veteran; Rick, a veteran; and Houston, who was also a veteran. I was giving an opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with these people and exchange situations that we both had encountered throughout our lives. Everyone of these veterans had interesting stories, but there was one of them who was currently about to relocate to another housing complex due to meeting the 2 year living agreement of Veterans Village; this was Houston, who has a dog named Toby that follows him everywhere he goes and all the veterans seemed to like him. Houston was the only vet who had a pet that follows him everywhere he goes and always seemed to have a spirit of joyfulness each time we met.
The next week I was able to convince Tiffany Hill to get a haircut after she witness the outcome of haircuts of her fellow vets. Hill wore a particular hairstyle known as the “Mohawk,” and after receiving my cutting services stated she loved it. She also had a story about her life experiences but seemed to be very determined in publishing news articles and later moved from the village after receiving a job opportunity in writing. Another person who always was on the computer when I came was Alex Marquez Jr.; he wouldn’t talk much until he began to know me but always smiled and had an accent that was not of the south. While enjoying various types of gourmet dishes and elegant pastries that was donated by volunteers, veterans would receive the gift of sharing, caring, and loving from people who may be a little more fortunate than others.
As weeks pass, it was evident that the veterans was getting use to me by the way they would greet me upon arrival. After being told that I drive over 30 miles on a day that I am not scheduled to go to school, several vets started adding me to their prayers and showed even more gratitude. Meeting people who have served for this country and having the opportunity to hear stories of survival, bravery, and heroic tactics is a pleasure to have the honor to be able to write a story project on. Every week there were entries’ that seemed to have come from gourmet restaurants of pure elegance, foods such lasagna, spaghetti, bake chicken, salads, checkerboard cake, and many different types of vegetables.
In conclusion, helping others is something everyone should consider no matter what the individuals situation is. There are people in the world who have gone through controversies that may even be unbearable to the strongest human being. The Bible states “Do unto others as you would like to do unto you,” it is also stated that God gave his only begotten son in order for all humans to have life on earth. So if God can make sacrifices, why can’t people do the same? The world we live in can be better place if people reached out to a fellow citizen in helpful ways that will make even the sadist individual have a brighter spirit. At times a person may feel like there is not a reason to carry on in their life but with a little hope and inspiration, anyone can overcome obstacles in life.