My story really started with my first journal entry. Since July 20th, 2004 my journal has been a daily reliance for me to share my story and perspective. As we learn about ourselves and take time to be introspective, often it leads us to a desire to find out about others. That’s where things really took off for me.
At the age of 14, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador to visit a sister volunteering at an orphanage there for the summer. I experienced a new shock of culture my finite and naive mind had never anticipated before. I had never given much thought that people could live such a different life, with different trials, struggles, triumphs, joys, strengths and beliefs. Yet what impacted me the most was how their perspective had the power to open my eyes to a wider and more encompassing view. That experience was my moment of firsts, first time in a plane, first time out of the country, first time interacting with those who spoke a different native language, first time seeing real poverty, first time considering the world beyond my family, friends and school.
Since that moment of change, I sought for more opportunities to change my perspective. As a 17 year-old, still in high school, I traveled alone to Kayathar, India to volunteer as an English teacher. There’s no question I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but often when we act on a virtuous thought, we find the true, deeper meaning much later. I spent two months in a small village teaching English to students from 11 to 16 years old; nearly my same age! They taught me so much about the good a single individual can accomplish, regardless of our station. As part of English class, we sometimes watched and evaluated movies in English. I brought Disney’s Ratatouille, which at the time I didn’t realize how significant of a moral lesson it taught, along with the English language. The movie teaches that greatness can arise from any circumstances, even the most unexpected sources. When we can overcome our bias, we allow ourselves a window to see greatness and the potential for greatness all around us and throughout the world.
I have since taught English in Zhongshan, China as well as served a two year mission in Denmark. I went on to pursue a degree in Journalism and then further in International Relations. As I learned the power of writing, I started a small blog called Perspectives. It was my attempt to understand the differences of the people I had during my travels. In seeing and experiencing such drastically different cultures, challenges and belief systems, it has become my goal to see how we think individually and how what we see and perceive determines how we act. When we can see people as people, despite differences, we can mitigate the tendency for unjustified bias. My background in journalism and international affairs has led me to start this organization in attempt to combat against seeing peoples’ differences as a justification for hate, but instead as an opportunity to learn.