The balance of being financially successful and giving back to others is something each individual must determine based upon his/her achievements and capabilities. I believe that I have a duty to give something back to those who have not attained the level of success that I enjoy. Although I continue to strive for more successes, it is incumbent upon me to always lend a hand to those who have not been able to realize success. I have recently moved to a very poor community in rural Mississippi where I am currently attending graduate school. It has been heartbreaking to discover the number of people who are functionally illiterate in this area. The local high school was almost closed this year due to the students’ inability to pass the high school state equivalency tests. This school system is seeking volunteers to provide assistance to the youth to help educate and adequately prepare them to take and pass the state exams. Since students were allowed to return to the local high school last week, I have decided to volunteer my academic assistance in any area needed to educate as many young people as possible. This will be a sacrifice for me as I work full time and am taking two graduate school classes. However, if I do not make this sacrifice, the future of these youth will be sacrificed which is a far greater loss than any I will incur. I am also speaking with others and trying to galvanize support from others to contribute their time and effort. It may not seem as though this is a problem for those who live elsewhere; but it is. If we continue to allow undereducated youth to enter adult society, we will all be affected in some way by the negative repercussions that will surely follow. I do not have much to contribute financially at this time, but the time and assistance that I will be providing may make the difference between an individual choosing to become a dentist or becoming society’s worst nightmare. Upon completion of graduate school I would like to establish a literacy organization to assist the children in this community. The school district is financially unable to provide any additional tutoring/mentoring for the students. An independent agency would be able to supplement the school system and provide for the other needs that are currently lacking. These children are not ignorant; they simply have not been given adequate opportunity and access to all the tools that would ensure their success. I would like to be the vehicle to bring about much needed change in this area. It would be unconscionable to live in this community and not attempt to elevate others by providing similar opportunities to those that I have been privileged to pursue. I cannot guarantee every child’s success, but I would like to be instrumental in every child being afforded a realistic opportunity to succeed in society. Presently I am employed as a substance abuse counselor in a state prison. This is another area that I would like to be able to give back. Everyone in prison is not a deviant person; many inmates made unwise decisions which resulted in the sanction of prison. Due to the economy and budget deficits, many state programs have been eliminated or drastically reduced. I would like to establish an agency that would be able to provide programs to prepare inmates to renter society and have the skills to be productive citizens. Many in society feel that those who are incarcerated are not their problem. The bigger picture is that one day most prisoners are released and must come back to society. If they have not been equipped with adequate education and skills to become viable citizens, they will continue to perpetrate crime which is a problem for everyone. I would like to establish a nonprofit agency to work with inmates to teach them how to be productive citizens. This benefits everyone. The recidivism rate would be greatly reduced, and our society would have many more educated, skilled, productive citizens making a positive contribution to our economy. My contribution is not dependent upon my financial portfolio. Obviously, the more financial resources that I have the greater the likelihood that I will be able to effect change. My present circumstances dictate that I may not be able to immediately do all of the things that I have envisioned. However, I am determined that with the resources that I do have at my disposal I am and will continue to be a positive influence on others and be a conduit for change in the areas that I have great passion. The contribution process begins in the heart of an individual and is then manifested by the deeds that a person does. My philanthropic endeavors will not only make me a better person; it will hopefully enrich everyone’s life that I am able to reach. Financial success should not be totally measured by a monetary figure but rather by the positive impact that it has had and will continue to have on others.
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