Written by Team Mentor Kamrie Yeung
On Saturday, November 23, 2013, six students from Magnolia High School left the comfort of their beds and stepped into their backyards – America’s backyard. Magnolia High School’s NGC team had organized a Ride for Change event to ride their bikes around their local park to pass around “goody bags” for the homeless in the park. These bags, carefully arranged by the team, contained water, granola bars, and socks. These were small offerings, but like coals in the snow, a precious gift. Team leader Ailene Ortiz recounts that in this deceptively simple act, they had learned that “a small token of care can have such impact on someone’s life”. They became more aware that “poverty is happening in our own backyards, and we have the power to make a change”.
People in developed countries are often preoccupied (although sometimes rightly so) with what is going on in other countries and what is unjust in other societies that they overlook what is happening in their own backyard. Sometimes, in the midst of learning about and helping distant issues, we must remember that although America as a country is thriving, there are bubbles of poverty within itself. These are often overlooked, not receiving nearly as much care and attention as the “Red Cross” areas, and yet needing just as much. Magnolia High team’s event was sustainable, thoughtful, and enjoyable, which is what NGC, I believe, strives for our students.