School: St. Francis DeSales High School
Parish: St. Paul the Apostle
Being raised into the Catholic faith, the Church has always played a substantial role in my life. My family and I attend Church every Sunday, just as we are all called. My attendance at weekly Mass allows the Gospel message to resonate with me, directing me to live out the call to holiness by giving service to the community, which in my opinion, is the most important aspect of Catholicism. The dedication of the Catholic Church to service is what sets it apart from different faiths, as such measures truly explicate the teachings of Christ to love and care for one another.
Service is extremely important to me, which has led me to devote much of my time to several different organizations. The first organization I play a very active role in is BuckeyeThon. BuckeyeThon is a student-led philanthropy that works through The Ohio State University to generate both money and awareness for pediatric cancer. During the late fall of my freshman year, I worked with four other students at St. Francis DeSales High School to bring this initiative to our school. We founded a club entitled “Corral for the Kids,” which within a year’s time has reached over 170 members. Serving as co-founder and executive secretary, I do much of the organization and planning of fundraisers throughout the course of the year. This 2015-2016 school year, we led a toy/book drive for the cancer patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital during the Holiday season, a t-shirt sale, a dine-to-donate at Chipotle, a football game, and our biggest event of the year is the annual dodgeball tournament. We expanded the tournament by reaching out to the other schools in the Columbus Catholic League for their involvement, bringing in a total of over $6,000 all For The Kids. This particular organization has a powerful impact on me because I have witnessed how you can make a difference, regardless of age, for those battling the toughest situations, like those who sacrifice much of their childhood battling cancer on a daily basis. Another organization I am actively involved with is the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). My brother, now twenty years of age, was diagnosed with Crohn’s when he was nine years old, so this is a cause very near and dear to my heart. I work several events throughout the course of the year, such as “Cookies, Cupcakes, Cocktails, and more for Crohn’s and Colitis,” the annual “Take Steps” walk, and several others. My family hosts our own fundraiser each Spring called “Dine Out for Crohn’s and Colitis.” On the day of the fundraiser, I will be at the restaurant for twelve hours of the day selling raffle tickets, passing out flyers, etc., but there is a great deal of preparation and fundraising I do prior to the event. Each year, I sell wristbands at school the week leading up to the event, which not only raises a great deal of money for the cause but also plays a huge role in spreading awareness among the students and faculty at my school. I have been active with CCFA since I was in second grade, and as a family, we have raised tens of thousands of dollars in that time span. An additional organization I play a role in is the Run the Race Club at St. Francis DeSales High School, which works through the Brian Muha Foundation. This organization seeks to benefit inner-city children by providing them with positive influences in all aspects of life. As sophomore representative for this organization, I have done food drives and school supply drives, with which all of the donations are given to the Brian Muha Center. I have worked events interacting with the children (called “racers”), my favorite being the movie night at DeSales, which has showed me how important it is to care for the needs of these children; they are young and vulnerable, but the positive influence cast upon them through the organization will guide them in the path of Christ in the future. My fourth and final service group I am apart of is the annual Haitian Christmas, in which I serve as the co-chairperson. Haitian Christmas is a celebratory event for the Haitian community at St. Matthias Parish, a group that bears great hardship and remains severely underprivileged. Time is set aside for prayer by the celebration of Mass first, and then each child at the event is given a gift, which emphasizes the giving spirit of Christmas, but above all else, we strive to focus the event on the true meaning of Christmas. The event allows all in attendance to rejoice, as we all should with the gift of Jesus, the greatest gift humanity has been given. Speaking for myself, I take a lot for granted, so this event has showed me the importance to not only rejoice and thank God for His innumerable blessings, but to share the message and joy with all people. I am currently going through training so that I can begin volunteering at the Franklin County Dog Shelter this Summer, which I am greatly looking forward to. The Good Lord has indubitably blessed me beyond measure, so I seek to live out Jesus’ call to holiness through my involvement in community service.
The Importance of Service:
Service is the quintessence of Jesus’ message, calling us to care for the needs of all people. Above all else, I strive to make an impact in this world, and the way I cultivate this desire is by venturing to follow the footsteps of Christ. Matthew 25:40 epitomizes the importance of service, as it reads, “Whatever you do for these least brothers of mine, you do for Me.” I have heard the mother of a twelve year old cancer survivor say, “my daughter will never be able to conceive a child due of the rigor of her earlier treatments.” I have seen the tears of parents as they see their beaming children tear open wrapping paper, quite possibly the only present they will receive that Christmas. I have seen a dog burrow itself in the corner of a cage, and then bursting with energy upon finding a home. Above all else, I have seen the impact humans can make. Individuals have the capability to do severe harm, evident in the horror of nightly newscasts, but humans also have capability to do remarkable deeds that shape an entire person’s life. A rusty nail pierced the flesh of Jesus, binding him to the wood of a cross until His death, but His death is the reason for our life today. Service allows me to demonstrate the godly ability all humans have: the ability to save another person. To let someone know they are not alone, to let them know their needs have been met, to let them know that in a world of so much evil, the spirit of Christ lives among each of us. Christ has evoked the unquenchable flame within me to make a difference, for it is service that binds all people together to the mission of Christ.