They go to the gravestones and adorn them with colorful flowers, art, and letters. They have lavish festivals in honor of those who have gone on before them.
Ireland has many traditions and everything there moves at a pace that's much slower than Americans expect. Many of the people in that country have very little to call their own but yet they are surprisingly happy. There are always cruel people who would say that the Irish people drink all the time and that's why their happy, but these kinds of comments come from people who don't know the culture and haven't been to the country. The Irish people are happy because they understand that there is value in family and friends and caring for one another, and that value goes far beyond the value of material things. These are the kinds of life lessons that can only be learned first-hand by actually immersing yourself in another culture and experiencing it on its terms instead of yours.
In addition to my multicultural understanding I also involve myself in volunteer and team building activities. I organize and plan events for my Young Adult youth group at my church, and that requires me to work closely with others and build strong relationships with them so that we can coordinate activities and accomplish our goals. I also volunteer at the YMCA in the Big Brother/Big Sister program and tutor children in an after school program. Every summer I teach swimming lessons, and one of the people I taught to swim is my Vietnamese "little sister," Jessica. She speaks very little English and I personally tutor her at home three times per week as well as taking her to movies and other fun activities - like swimming. My goal in doing all of this is to be a strong, positive role model for the children that I am able to help. I want them to be inspired to dream big dreams instead of little ones. I want them to understand that nothing in their past has to stop them from having a great future.
Too often I see, hear about, or read about parents who have seemingly given up on their children and children who have seemingly given up on themselves. It saddens me to think that there are so many people out there - young and old alike - who are not reaching their full potential because they've never really been convinced that they have any potential to reach. They believe that they can do no better than what they already have, and even at young ages life has taken its toll and beaten them down. In order to help them they have to be talked to on their terms and in a way that they feel comfortable with. They can't just be told that they can do more and then left alone to do it. Someone has to step up and guide them; show them that there is so much more out there for them to explore and become involved in.
I know that there are many people out there who already do this, but there are not enough of them, and I want to be one of the people who makes a difference in this world. I feel I would be privileged to attend UCLA and would make the most of my educational experiences there. I know I could take that education and couple it with the experience that I already have to go out into the world and help more people in a larger way. I never feel more rewarded than when I am giving to others, and while it isn't always easy to continue to do that in today's world and with the economic troubles that we are all facing, the time to really step up and help even more is now - when there are more and more people every day who desperately need someone to help them back to their feet and let them know that these bad times will pass. They don't have to stay here forever, because there really are bigger and better things that they can move on to if they are willing to try. Being the one to show these people what they can accomplish and guide them on that journey, for me, would be a life…