”No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”- Aesop 

Although big deeds are very helpful for communities, sometimes service comes in small but equally important ways. Let me explain how I came to understand this truth in a personal way this year. When there was a big storm this summer, it left many people in my neighborhood without power. This was hard for many people because they were without water or cooling. My dad got gas for the generators and then went to help our neighbors set up their generators. Another example of service that was recently impactful was when my mom broke her wrist earlier this fall and my dad wasn’t home. Neighbors offered to drive me to school and to bring us food so that my mom didn’t have to worry about cooking. These acts of service helped me to understand why service and kindness are so important in a community. They bind people together and help us connect to each other. Even if it's holding the door for your friend, they will most likely hold the door for you sometime when you need help. You have their back and they have yours. Although the storm impacted many people, the defining moment that was impactful for me was the helping and coming together that happened as a result. My mom's broken wrist wasn't defined in the breaking, it was defined by how impressed and touched we were that so many people helped us in our time of need.

We see every day that community is everywhere and comes in many different shapes and forms just as we do as individuals. Although there are many different types of communities, they all have something in common and that is service. The definition of service is the action of helping or doing work for someone. So what I am saying today is that everyone in a community has the opportunity to be of service to each other and members of a community are there for each other. It all comes back to the basic saying that many of us have heard since kindergarten: treat others the way you want to be treated. Another example of a small act of service that has great benefit both for the giver and for the receiver is the 4th grade food drive. Through the food drive that benefits the food bank in Ridgefield, fourth graders encourage others to help their local community. The 4th graders don’t know who they are personally going to help, but they know that they are giving and supporting others in a time of need.

Going into the Thanksgiving holiday, this year has given me the chance to reflect on service and how it can strengthen communities. This year has also helped me to understand that by having the interests of others in mind, we can be contributing members of our own communities and can find ourselves being supported in return if we are ever in need. All these acts of kindness show that you don't need to have a personal relationship with someone to be in a community with them and be there for them. I want you all to see that through service, kindness, or having each other's back we can create a supportive community that makes others feel safe and cared for. Over our Thanksgiving break, I challenge all of you to do at least one act of service that will help someone else and take the responsibility for shaping a stronger community through caring for others.