March 21, 2007

This I Believe...

This week I have decided to take a little different approach to my post. "This I Believe" has become a national phenomenon. It encourages anyone and everyone to write a 300-500 word essay about what it is that they believe. Based on a "national media project engaging people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values and beliefs that guide their daily lives" the project has gained much success. Today I would like to contribute to this project by explaining how my core beliefs have led me to my interest in real estate development.

I believe in giving back. I think that it is one of the most important things in life. Giving back to the community is essential to creating a great environment. And not just donating large sums of money, I am talking about giving your time and energy, giving a part of who you are to the community. Since I was in eighth grade my mom and I joined the National Charity League. It is a mother-daughter philanthropic organization. For five years we went to events to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity, collect clothes and cooked food for homeless shelters, kept spirits high at the Special Olympics. My mom and I went to everything we could fit into our schedules, but our favorite event was the Summer Special Olympics. The participants were the most upbeat and motivated people I have met since. At one event my friends and I were in charge of large inflatable obstacle course on one side, and a dance floor and DJ on the other side. One little girl in particular who I had helped climb a large inflatable obstacle course came up to me at lunch and said she did not know how to dance, but she would like us to “teach her some moves.” Another young participant asked all the ladies for a dance. We took it upon ourselves to round up everyone we could and start a little dance party. Come to find out later that evening the Special Olympics Director thought it was the most fun she had seem them have at an event. Much like the picture above to the left of Nadia Comaneci, Olympic Gold Medalist, assisting a young Special Olympics China athlete, I was ecstatic that my help made them so much happier. I had never felt better about what I was doing than in those moments.

When I started school at the University of Southern California it and was quite apparent that the school was worlds apart from its surrounding community. My classes offered me the chance to participate in JEP- Joint Educational Program. It created a network of students available to teach at neighboring campuses. I have taught basic science principals to first graders, explored Greek mythology with eleven year-olds and tutored in math like the volunteer pictured on the right. It was a great experience for the kids as well as for me.

Giving back is essential for building a strong community. My experiences with charities and other philanthropic organizations have led me to the conclusion that whatever I do as a career must in some way help make the world a better place. With real estate development I will be literally building these communities from the ground up. In a sense I will be creating the foundation of a future community; building its businesses, its parks, its neighborhoods. Through “green development” like that pictured above to the left I can give back to the community as well as the earth’s environment. I can set an example through my building practices and ethical standards. Because it is the development of a community which shapes its foundation and determines what it will become in the future.

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