Be Yourself – Be Fearless

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

In the above quotation, Mahatma Ghandi reveals the founding principle of service activity: that humankind is intricately connected. Alone, not much can be accomplished in life. We need others to help guide us, teach us, and walk alongside us while we trek down the difficult paths we can encounter in life. Being alone invites feelings of incompetence, low self-esteem, and pessimism. Most youth today have a strong relationship with loneliness, and because of this they are on a track to become misguided throughout their life, that when facing difficult situations often make choices that lead down a path of destruction.

As a young man, I was always teased and ridiculed because I was different from other people – I stuttered. Naturally, I closed myself off emotionally from the world, hiding parts of me that I did not want others to see for fear of not being liked for who I really was. I had low self-esteem, a low self-image, and I felt incompetent. I knew I had a brilliant mind, but what is a brilliant mind if you were afraid to use it to its full potential? Anyone who knew me, did not see what I saw, they saw a driven young man who was ready to tackle the world and anything that came at him. However, now that I am older and had been through many experiences that have led me to start an organization to help aid youth not to feel as I felt at a young age through acts of service, I have grown into the man I wished to become as a young boy – a passionate, caring person, devoted father, and eventually, a devoted husband. I am confident in myself now than I have ever been in life and that is because of the people who have helped me realize my potential and helped me through those difficult moments I faced.

I have experienced tenfold the intricate connections people have with one another, and I am determined to help show those how to succeed in overcoming those feelings of incompetence, low self-esteem, and pessimism how I had – by giving a small piece of myself just to make others whole.

When I first began seriously serving others during a mission trip to Botswana, I realized that my voice, my spirit, and my story can change lives, something I had never seen before. I began involving myself in more experiences where I could serve others not only to help those who needed it, but also to find myself as Ghandi so delicately asserted. I am making it my life’s mission to passionately seek innovative ways to show our youth that they too can make a difference by giving to others and in turn, they will receive a great gift – joy – the joy one feels when they know they have helped someone make it down their beaten path.

Service work is an invaluable opportunity to affect change in the lives of our youth as well as others. It takes special people that God calls to lead others to utilize their skills in a unique way. These special skills can be translated into other areas of one’s life. Therefore, I strongly believe that if youth are exposed to the positive life-skills service work can instill in them, then these individuals will acquire a passion for affecting positive change in their own lives as well as being empowered to serve the world’s most vulnerable people no matter where they are.

I believe that our youth are our greatest resource; we must nurture them and protect them so that they may one day protect us. We all can make change in a young person’s life by instilling in them values and life-skills they can use to feel like they have worth. For when youth feel that they are valued by their community and the people around them, they will be more confident to succeed – fearless.

Derrin Slack
Executive Director, Founder

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