Faces of Job Corps: Noah B.
Twenty-four year old San Diego Job Corps graduate Noah B. plans on pursuing a career in the medical field after he completes his Advanced Career Training at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. He recently completed San Diego’s Career Technical Training Computer program while obtaining his GED and high school diploma. Noah’s accomplishments helped him win the Strong Futures, Strong Communities Scholarship from the Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach/South Bay. As part of the scholarship requirement, he wrote an essay addressing the questions: “What is an important lesson that you learned from providing service to your community? Why do you feel that it is worthwhile to serve others?” Noah’s essay follows:
I’m sitting next to a computer terminal and the woman next to me, who is in her early to late forties, is absently holding a cup of coffee in her left hand while she clicks around on the computer screen trying to find the e-mail she had ushered me into the homeless shelter’s computer room to show me. She finds it and reads it off to me. “My daughter replied to me,” the woman says, and begins to read off what becomes from her, a list of accomplishments. She reads off the words her daughter wrote to her, telling her, her mother, about how she has graduated from college, is now married and…the woman stops in mid-sentence and I can see that tears are starting to form, her breath becomes shallow and after a moment of suspense, she tells me that she will soon have a grandson.
What strikes me even now about this was that this woman looked to me as a teacher, as a friend, because I took a miniscule amount of my time to sit down with her and listen to her story. Basically, she came to me with an e-mail address scrawled on the back of an old business card and told me that this was the only way she had of reaching her daughter, but didn’t know how to actually write to her. I spent maybe twenty minutes assisting her with creating an e-mail account, showing her how to compose a letter, then watching her take part in an emotional cornerstone of her life as she hears back from her child she hasn’t been in contact with in years. All of this because I took a half an hour to care, to listen, and to give her the tools to reach out and make that contact.
All of this is a lesson I take to heart; that the time I put into helping others, whether it be five minutes or an hour, always counts for something. Whether I spend that time assisting in a food line, an afternoon session to help tutor a student, or twenty minutes of my life to give a homeless woman the tools to write a letter to her daughter and maybe through that find some emotional support, there is always a countable, not always consistent, but countable effect. An effect that, whether small or large, immediate or prolonged, will always bolster, always improve, the life of another.
Faces of Job Corps: Noah B.