Why “UnSung Heroes” Should Be On Every Campus

Why “UnSung Heroes” Should Be On Every Campus

We need to lift our heads up from our phones, say hello, and engage.
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In the October 13th issue of the Washington Post, the story of a Georgetown student and janitor was shared. The student, Febin Bellamy, who had previously felt an imaginary wall between himself and the janitor, engaged in conversation with him and learned his story. After learning the story of this particular janitor, Oneil Batchelor, an immigrant from Jamaica, Bellamy was inspired to learn more about the stories of other workers on his campus. As he got to know more of the workers on his campus, he wanted to create a way to connect students to workers and what began as a class project is now a campus-wide organization.

Bellamy began by creating a Facebook page called Unsung Heros, which shared small profiles of workers around his campus. Eventually, these stories inspired students to get involved in supporting the dreams of the workers on their campus and have created successful fundraisers. Batchelor's entrepreneurial dream of owning his own business was made a reality by a fundraiser, which has allowed him to start his own business catering his now-famous jerk chicken. Students also raised money for a cashier at their dining hall to fly round-trip to South Sudan and visit his family that he hasn't seen in 45 years.

Unsung Heroes is an inspiring project that should exist on every campus. Each school has hard-working, under-appreciated workers with their own inspiring stories that deserve to be shared. We, as students of these institutions, are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity of higher education and should be grateful to those who enhance the experience for us. As Bellamy explains, "Everybody's in their own world, a lot of students have good hearts and were raised right. It's just not always easy for them to get to know people around them." Most of us were raised with values of appreciating others, but allow this divide to be created between us and our campus workers.

So, what can we do about it? We can begin by engaging with those who work across our campus. Instead of staring at our phones as we walk past them in the halls, we can smile and say hi and wish them a good day. I make a conscious effort to engage with custodians on my hall and workers I see daily across campus, even if its just a smile or simple "thank you". We must remember that without these hard-working individuals, our college experience would not be the same.

The idea behind Unsung Heroes is one that should exist across all campuses, to appreciate those who are undervalued but deserving of the highest praise. I am proud that my school, The College of Wooster, has started an initiative to grant living and competent wages to these workers called the Living Wage Campaign, but we still need to do more. We need to not just demand adequate wages for our workers, but we need to know them and respect them. So, I challenge everyone to engage with these unsung heroes that exist across their campuses and learn their stories. Even the smallest effort and interaction can make a difference in someone's day, just lift your head up from your phone and say "hi".

Cover Image Credit: nbcnews.com

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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The Path Ahead Of Me

Create your own path to find yourself and the life you wish to live.

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"Fortunately, the sun has a wonderfully glorious habit of rising every morning. When the sky lightened, when the birds awoke, I knew I would never again see anything so splendid as the round red sun coming up over the Earth." Sam Gribley had an outlook on life that many people fail to see.

We often get stuck in the movements and routines of our day. We forget to live a little and enjoy our time here on our precious Earth. Lately, I myself have fallen into these motions and felt like a puppet in my own life. The simplest of solutions have lifted my spirits and have started to bring me back to my previous ways. Although Sam is a fictional character, he has a lot of truth behind his words. Each day the sun will rise, so no matter how hard yesterday was tomorrow is always a fresh start.

A few changes I have realized in myself are I have been making less negative comments and I have felt more confident. With the negativity changing in myself, I have also tried to make others more positive when they are down. I have had more confidence in my own abilities as a student and with the way, I look each day. Putting my own self down wouldn't get me anywhere in life.

While reading "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George, I felt inspired to take on more challenges in life and have higher standards. The life I live will be filled with positive people, good memories, and I will strive each day toward my goals. Each of us has our own mountain to conquer and I take mine day by day with my head high and towards the sun.

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