As the first few days went by, they noticed that I was enjoying myself instead of looking lost and worried; but little did they know that in my mind I was actually discovering my life’s passion and feeling good about myself.
Many individuals worldwide face the predicament of building their self-esteem and finding their self identity; all within a world dominated by capitalism and self-salvation. In such a world were our obligations lead us onto a path of self-serving, finding our true identities and boosting our self-esteem can truly be a difficult task. Many years ago I too found myself navigating through these very same problems, to the point were I questioned my culture and my very own self existence.
Over the years I have realized that many other youth in communities everywhere are asking the same questions. The answers to the questions I asked myself as a young kid, and the questions many youth in our community are asking today lie within an old principal that we have forgotten in today’s age – volunteering and community engagement. My personal story stands great testimony to this fact, and my journey of finding answers to my questions, and building my self-esteem started at the age of 12, when I got enrolled into a youth summer camp as a volunteer leader.
My family and friends made me join this initiative by use of positive peer pressure and well-intentioned family pressure. As the first few days went by, they noticed that I was enjoying myself instead of looking lost and worried; but little did they know that in my mind I was actually discovering my life’s passion and feeling good about myself. Helping other kids smile gave me a sense of energy that radiated through my body and my mind like electricity. This experience lead me to seek out more volunteer opportunities as I was now hungry for more; which then lead me to join the large network of volunteers at the City of Surrey. There, my overall experiences taught me that race and cultural identity do not matter when it comes to community engagement, and that anyone can be a leader in their community regardless of their background. It made me see beyond the barriers of race and culture and made me realize what my true identity is; that I am a human, and that the first obligation for any human being is caring for those around them.
This success spilled over into my high-school life where I became an honour role student and received many excellence awards. All of these activities have helped me hone my public speaking skills, and my passion has helped reduce crime in my city through participation in youth councils; has helped empower the next generation via participation in programs like Camp We Empower Foundation; and has inspired me to start my own non-profit being a youth talent platform.
I found my identity and self-esteem through community engagement and volunteering. Other youth can as well, all it takes is for you to reach out to the community and get involved wherever possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gurvir Singh Jammu is a third year criminology student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. His passion in life is being a leader in his community and he wishes to inspire others to step up for positive change in their local communities.
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