A Battle for Action

Briefly describe an activity in which you have participated that demonstrates your commitment to your community.

The day was bitterly cold for April in Athens, Georgia. I stopped watching the music on-stage to count the number of people on the field. A sizeable crowd had turned up to the first annual Battle Against Poverty Concert, which I had spent months organizing and promoting with other high school and college students in the area.

The first thing anyone notices about Athens is that it bears all the marks of a university town: a lively downtown scene, a large number of middle class families, and a campus buzzing with activity. But in middle school, that perspective changed for me. My parents began investing in rental properties, and over time, I became the manager for six duplexes and two condominiums. My job showed me the less prosperous Athens - the one with a poverty rate almost twice the state and national average at 24%, the one in the fifth poorest county of its size in the entire country. This was the aspect of our university town that most people ignored.

In ninth grade I transferred to a private high school in the adjacent county after receiving an academic scholarship, but I still lived on the poorer east side of town where I knew many families could not afford homes. At school, no one talked or worried about persistent...

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