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Linking generations. Enhancing lives.

I have always wanted to change the world and make it a better place. Growing up in Africa, I didn’t know how I was going to achieve that, but attending church and helping friends at school always felt great to me.

During senior high school, which was at a boarding house, I remember organizations came to our classes to do presentations about their club or group to recruit members. They spoke about their aim, mission and benefits provided to membership.

The address from Amnesty International really caught my attention and drove home a message that I felt within myself. This entity wanted to change the world and to do so by speaking against human rights abuses. I wanted to change the same things about the world, so I joined the club.

The next four years had ups and downs. I developed from a tiny, timid youngster to becoming the financial secretary of the Student Representative Council. During this period, I defended student’s rights; I advocated for better food, accommodations and classrooms.

Whereas I achieved immense results regarding some changes that I wanted to accomplish, not all goals were attainable, as to not cause expulsion and/or failure to graduate. After graduation, my passion to enact change within the world did not diminish. I took my mission and calling to my community.

I had the opportunity to meet the founder of a nonprofit organization that helped in the development of youth in the capital city. This man funded and provided us with enough infrastructure to start a branch in my home area. I started off as a development coach, where I trained children in various sports and classroom activities as well as organizing tournaments. I later became the executive director and was charged with raising funds, planning activities and recruiting.

Most Ghanaians, including myself, think that the United States is the country where anything is possible. I wanted to become an American soldier whenever I watched movies such as “Battle Rats.” I also felt that if I had the chance to further my education, I would love to study in America.

When I came to the United States in May of 2010, my sole purpose was to better myself through the various opportunities available in this country. My aim at changing the world for the better did not falter. I have noted that many concepts of the human services system here could greatly benefit the lives of people in my home country of Ghana.

My decision to pursue a degree in sociology for undergrad and human services for my graduate year was based on my continuing drive to change the world. I knew with what I would learn I could benefit others and help to provide services to those who are vulnerable. I chose this career because as a human service professional, I would be able to take part in advocating and implementing policies that would help to give people a better life.

At the LifeSpan Center, where I am completing my internship, I am learning how to be a leader, improving my communications skills and getting firsthand knowledge and experience. I have learned that it is critical to continue the quest for knowledge even after schooling has been completed. Continuing to develop, as a person professionally will serve me in the future.

I believe that as an immigrant to United States, I have gained the chance to better myself and live the American dream. Looking at the broader picture, I feel that these opportunities will go a long way to helping me change the world.

The LifeSpan Center is located at 11021 E. County Road 800N, Charleston. The telephone number is 217-639-5150. Come join us each weekday at noon for “Lunch at LifeSpan.”

Peace Meals, sponsored by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, are served Monday through Friday at a suggested donation of $3.50. To register, reserve a lunch or learn more, call 217-345-1800.

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