UGA HEROs would not have undergone such immense growth within its mere 6 years of establishment if it had not been for innovative thinkers, risk takers, and change implementers. Three years ago when I was a committee member, I thought I was just giving back to those less fortunate. Now, as a member of the Board of Directors as the Director of Internal Affairs, I realize that I do more than endorse a product or cause. I have grown with this organization and through my increased interaction; I have gotten to know our children, their families and experienced fun times like summer camp with them and also endured and mourned a child’s death. Having the privilege of these children in my life as a reminder to be brave and never give up motivates me to expose other college students to the same opportunity and have their life changed much like mine was. Recently, UGA HEROs set up a chapter at Georgia Tech University that is yielding promising results. I want to continue this expansion to other universities in the Atlanta and surrounding areas and help manage the construction of another success story.
This year, I plan to work intimately with the implementation of a solely scholastic focused tutoring program and establish a personal hygiene/health and sexual safety curriculums when age appropriate for our children. These programs, in cohort with the already existing SuperHEROes and RisingHEROes programs, will help expand our influence over the children enrolled in our program and educate them on vital issues concerning their personal health. Hopefully scholastic assistance will catch our children falling through the cracks of the educational system allowing them to further overcome one of the many hindrances they face in life. The past impact I have made may have had fleeting effects – one child happy for one moment of one day; and although these differences are profound beyond belief, the impact of these new programs will make lots of children, soon teens, and later adults happy for a lifetime. A long lifetime.
I have fundraised for, transported, camped with, learned sign language for, planned and “plan-B”-ed Spring Events for, dedicated countless hours to, met with, enjoyed, loved, and missed so many of our children. Although I may never know them all, it just takes one. One smile, one laugh, one thankful gaze, or one trusting tear is needed to connect you to a child and our cause. Not everyone has to wear a cape to save lives. Become a HERO.
This summer I am going to South Africa with numerous HERO members to do AIDS relief work to continue our impact. Whoever said one person could not make a difference must not have considered about super HERO power.