Today’s blog about service was written by Keith Martinez, whom I’ve had the privilege of getting to know through a program called STEP- Student Transfer Education Program. In high school, Keith went from living in an underprivileged environment on a Native American reservation in South Dakota to living with our family for two years, as well as being supported by other Scarsdale families participating in the STEP program. Keith came to us with SAT scores just above 600 and after going to a tutor every Sunday for two years, he boosted his score to over 1100 points. He earned a Presidential Scholarship to attend Villanova University and has also received the Bill Gates Foundation Scholarship and is a 2015 Truman Scholar from The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
Keith has received numerous awards for his service: he was named South Dakota's Youth Service Ambassador by Youth Service of America (2013-14); a Champion for Change by the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute (2014-15); and he is the recipient of a scholarship to the PPIA Summer Institute at Princeton University (2015). Keith frequently speaks about the power of education, seeking help and perseverance, and made his international speaking debut in the summer of 2014 at the Nexus Global Youth Summit at the United Nations.
Service has become a huge part of my life in recent years and I often get asked the question, "Why do you do what you do?" I ask myself the same question all the time.
So why do I do what I do? Is it out of love for others? Out of obligation/guilt? Is it out of ease? From the kindness of my heart? Or Is it, dare I say, out of self interest?
When thinking about service and what it means to me the answer to this very question often changes. I know some may be thinking and saying "service should be done out the kindness of your heart" And I don't deny this. When I talk about change I mean in a way that depends on what type of service I am engaging in at that point in time.
When I engage in different types of service I am doing so because I believe they are important for many different reasons. Some are closer to me personally while others are something that I do out of caring for those around me. All the service I do comes out of the kindness of my heart just different parts. I do this all with one constant theme "The world needs service for everyone."
Just like many other college students I often find myself balancing college life and my personal life. Sometimes things get rough at times because my life is never stagnant and I often find myself making decisions that can change the course of my life. This can be extremely mentally exhausting for me but there are two things that keep me going everyday. One is making life for my mother and brothers better as we have not had the easiest path of life (that is a whole story in itself). The other is that I know the world needs a voice for those without one. Since I have been given the ability to be that voice I know I must not let this go to waste.