It Takes A Village

What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

I observed Nam’s darting eyes across the canteen hall. After being shooed from table to table, Nam finally arrived at mine. “Uhhh is this seat t-t-taken”, he stammered.

Nam was new at school and had trouble fitting in. His stuttering did not help as kids would make fun of him when they are not shunning him. Having once been the frail new kid, I was able to empathize with his vulnerabilities and invited him to sit with my friends and me.

As I got to know him, I learned how he was looking forward to our Seussical production. Hearing this, I floated the idea of him being a participant. Naturally, given his stuttering, he fervently objected.

I reassured him that the thespian family was different. Since every members is critical for a production’s success, there is an intense sense of camaraderie, acceptance and love. After some prodding, Nam reluctantly agreed to take a speaking role. I helped him rehearse his lines and taught him the rhythmic acting method. When the day came, he delivered a flawless performance and beamed with pride.

Off-stage, I work with disadvantaged children. Similar to Nam, I sought to give them acceptance and normalcy. As Nam had been stigmatized for his stuttering, I saw similar ostracization of disabled...

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