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People get involved in service to make a positive change in their community. They want to leave their mark on an individual or society. People want to make a difference. 

Before this summer, my view on service was parallel with these thoughts. I set a goal to travel to the Middle East and work with disadvantaged children the summer after freshman year of college. I organized a school supply drive with the help of my sorority’s service chair, Schuyler Freyaldenhoven. I wanted to make a connection between the students at UNC and children overseas. When I started this project, I thought that the women in my sorority and I would make some kind of difference in a child’s life.

I made plans to travel to Yazd, Iran, and work in an orphanage starting at the end of June. I had no idea that the children I would be interacting with would impact me more than I could ever dream of impacting them. These children had every reason to be upset: they had no family, they had no money, and they had no idea what the future held for them. However, I was surprised to find a smile painted on every one of their faces, every moment of the day. They were the most thankful, most hopeful children I had ever been with.      

With material items constantly surrounding us, we often forget the blessings we have from the simplest things in life. These children ignited a particular appreciation in my soul that makes me forever indebted to them. Connecting the lessons we learn at UNC to our personal lives is something most students overlook. Even in academics, there is often a “moral to the story.” Now that I am back in the States and on campus, I am challenging myself to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to the lessons life is trying to teach me.

Because of the children I worked with this summer, I have found my passion in life. After graduating from law school, I plan on returning to the Middle East and helping women and children living in abusive environments.

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