Reaching Out Beyond Me

June 11, 2021
Lior Kolman

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Class of 2022

Read more from this author →

I woke up this morning. I got out of bed, got ready for school, and attended a 7-hour school day. I ate 3 full meals today. It’s winter, and the days are cold while the nights are colder. I got home today, had a hot shower, and dressed warmly. It rained last night, but I was in my warm bed, dry from the water droplets. But not all people have these luxuries.

For the first twelve years of my life, I did not see all of these things as luxuries. I just thought that this was something every person had. As I started in high school, we went on grade 8 orientation where each committee in the school ran a program that highlighted what they did and what they stood for. The outreach committee’s program was making soup packets with bare essentials in them for the less privileged people in the country to be fed. I thought that this was the most bizarre thing in the entire world. Why were there people in the world who did not have 3 meals a day? After asking around about it, my entire view of the world changed. I suddenly realized that not every person eats 3 meals a day, sleeps in a warm bed, or even has a house. Some people don’t even get out of bed…

I immediately decided that this was going to be my place in the school. After a year of being on the committee, I had been exposed to so many underprivileged situations, each one so unique to the rest. I was constantly getting involved in countless initiatives aimed to provide relief to these situations. As I began 9th grade, my entire life flipped upside down. My mother started working at a hospital. Not any hospital, the Nelson Mandela children’s hospital. The first time I stepped foot into this hospital, I was blown away. It was the most beautiful hospital I had ever seen. But then they started admitting patients… and as the name suggests, they were all children. The oldest one is maybe 10. As a 10-year-old child, I used to run around, playing games, eating whatever I wanted. This 10-year-old child cannot get out of bed, they can not play games and they cannot even eat milk chocolate. My heart shattered into a million pieces. This was the time, my time.

My time to stretch out my hand to people in need. For the past year, I had been partaking in other initiatives that somebody else planned. But now, I needed to create an initiative. My idea: get a group of kids from my school to visit these kids in the hospital and show them love. At first, I wasn’t sure anyone was going to like my idea or was going to want to partake. I was only allowed to bring 25 kids from the school with me so that we didn’t overwhelm the kids, I was worried I wasn’t going reach my goal of 25.

I was wrong. They exceeded my expectations, I was so overwhelmed at the number of people that wanted to be involved. I got my list of 25 people and we were off! I could never actually describe the feeling I had during this outing. Of the countless times I had been to the hospital, I had NEVER seen the kids this happy.

As my heart filled up with immense joy I decided that I would continue this project and create more for people in need. I did exactly this. As I get nearer to the middle of my eleventh-grade year, I have since continued this project, I ran a project creating packs for health care workers, I have cut my hair and donated it to kids with cancer twice, and I have continued to volunteer in countless other initiatives. I volunteer at a dog shelter every Saturday, I collect money and food items for homeless children, and way more.

I don’t do community service because I need twenty hours to graduate, or for recognition. I do community service because eighth grade me found a place in her soul to do everything in her power to make the world a better place. I don’t get paid for what I do, I do it because seeing the smiles on those children’s faces, that healthcare workers face, and seeing that dog’s tail wagging is more rewarding than any amount of money.

I don’t have a cure to COVID and I don’t have loads of money to donate and buy items for people in need, but I have the ability to put a smile on someone’s face and make their day just that much better. That’s how I make the world a better place.

Today I ask myself, would 8th grade Lior be proud? Would she want to be involved in all these programs?
The answer is yes and that’s how I know I’m doing something right.

Lior Kolman is a BBG from BBYO: South Africa and is a founding member of BBYO South Africa!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

Explore More Stories

Get The Shofar blasted to your inbox