I’ve been very lucky and blessed to be surrounded by such amazing and inspiring women in my family. Last year I shared with you how much my mother has influenced and inspired me, through her selfless dedication to education. This year I’d like to tell you about another influential and inspiring person in my life – my sister.
Although she’s younger than me, my sister is a woman I’ve always looked up to. As a child, she always had a spirit of caring, and wanting to help others. I remember her starting a ‘day camp’ in our basement for children in the neighborhood – while she was a child herself! She wanted to educate and give back to the community, even as a youth. And as she grew up and joined the workforce, that spirit of giving naturally transitioned into her career.
She began working in the field of public health after graduating from college and grad school. The nature of her work took her all over the world, but she spent most of her time working in various countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a public health practitioner, it was her job to help educate sick or at-risk individuals, and she always did so in a way that was inspiring, empowering and kind.
After years of service at the international level, my sister returned home to continue her medical education. She matriculated in medical school, with her primary reason being that she wanted to have an even greater impact on patient care, patient education and health outcomes. Even with her many years of service in the public health field, she felt was only able to make so much of an impact. Being armed with a medical doctor degree would enable her to help and give back so much more.
This year, while enrolled in her second year of medical school, she also held a volunteer position as an Education Coordinator in a health clinic at a local homeless shelter. This position required her to work closely with the residents of the shelter, providing healthcare and hosting health education events. This year I saw my sister devote much of her ‘free time’ (medical students don’t have much free time to spare!) to researching information for patients, developing educational programs to empower them, and even hosting a holiday toy and clothing drive for the children in the shelter.
In a world where many are motivated my wealth, fame and success, it’s always nice to see that there are still people who simply are motivated to give back. Like my mom, my sister continues to inspire me to give back in any way that I can – through education, through volunteering, etc. I am always inspired by the selfless, giving spirit that my sister embodies, and she’s a reminder that there are good, admirable people trying to do great things in and for the world.
Coke’s Pay It Forward campaign is their way of giving back. The campaign aims to help deserving youth gain exposure to experiences that will help them grow and prosper. Do you know of a young person who is doing great things in their community? Help a deserving youth gain exposure to the entertainment and community service industries with Steve Harvey – comedian, TV-personality, philanthropist and founder of The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. Register now to nominate yourself or a youth between the ages of 16-21 for the chance to win the Pay It Forward apprenticeship experience with Steve Harvey at Coke.com/payitforward. And join Steve Harvey today, February 6, 2014, for a Coke ‘Twitter Chat’!
Because a great mentor can make all the difference, Coca-Cola has teamed up with Steve Harvey to give two young people the apprenticeship experience of a lifetime. Visit Coke.com/PayItForward to nominate an aspiring youth and help pay it forward to the next generation. In addition, each winning youth gets a $5,000 scholarship to assist with his or her pursuit of higher education.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the Coca-Cola Company via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the Coca-Cola Company.