Ibrahim joined Victoria Quay at the beginning of March this year. He found out about us from a stall at Murdoch University conducted by members of Western Founders Club. He came here early this year as an Exchange student from Michigan Tech University to do one semester at Murdoch University, studying Business Management & Psychology. His home is in Washington DC, the capital of the United States. He is returning home later this month.
He has a keen interest in working with groups of children in a training and mentoring role. That sometimes kept him from our meetings, but he nevertheless completed the first 3 speeches from the Communication and Leadership Manual in his brief time with us. “Something unexpected” was the title of his third speech delivered at our meeting on June 2nd. It certainly was something unexpected. After a brief introduction explaining his desire to take part in the Peace Corps, the group of young Americans who volunteer to serve overseas for two years, he read us the submission he has composed to go with his application. It is printed below.
Ibrahim, we wish you could stay longer with us. Your energy and off-beat humour brightened our meetings, while your enthusiastic commitment to your beliefs and ideals has been inspirational. We will miss you, but we know you have something more important to take on. Keep in touch with us, Ibrahim. Let us know what you are doing.
Application to join the Peace Corps
Up until my third year in elementary school I wasn’t sure about anything in life. I developed the characteristics of being mischievous, uncertain, and at times melancholic. At this point in my life I was confused and disheartened. All my friends had fathers who supplemented their growth whereas I only had a mother. Yes, she guided me through childhood, but at the end of the day only a man can teach a boy to become a man.
At the time, my elementary school was blessed with a government initiative to provide us students with mentors whom would cater to our needs on an individual basis. I was amongst the lucky bunch to receive a mentor. Troy, a man of mature age, full beard, wide spectacles, and a regal persona became my mentor. After only two sessions he developed a great understanding of my character. With this, he instilled something in me which even today I’m cognisant of and cherish deep in my heart. Though simple were his words, benevolent was the impact. He told me “when you shake a person’s hand you look them in the eye and give them a firm grip”. I was a timid eight year old, who at that particular moment felt as if I’d rather give up all the ice cream in the world than to take on his request. But he was a man of persistence and discipline… he made me practice.
The beginning of our weekly meetings became stare downs and hand strengthening exercises. And surely in time my confidence and dexterity grew. I no longer gazed thoughtlessly at the floor upon shaking his hand. No, I now looked him in the eye and squeezed his hand with all the strength an eight year old could conjure up. Thanks to Troy I became more confident. I treated myself with respect, spoke with assurance, kept my clothes clean, performed with excellence in class and most of all I carried myself with pride and exuberance. I owe this boost in morale and self efficacy to a man who knew so little about me yet offered me his time, effort, kindness and confidence.
Throughout my childhood I came across many figures that impacted my life. Though different in nature, whether it was as a neighbour or football coach, the common characteristic these individuals shared was the passion of helping others. During my early years in high school I too developed this passion. From peer-mediating at school to camp counselling for at-risk youth, I naturally found myself within such circumstances. My passion was sparked by those who took time out of their lives to bring joy into the lives of others.
I want to join the Peace Corps not only to give back to the community but to build and be a part of one. Many youth today don’t have the luck or luxury I had of being inspired. Through the Peace Corps I want to continue this cycle of humanitarianism. I want to bring hope and inspiration to the lives of youth. I want to create a foundation, a community which promotes social welfare and tranquillity. Every child deserves one, for it takes a community to raise a child.
Thought provoking and inspiring. Beautifully expressed, this “Application” would surely guarantee Ibrahim an open arms invitation to the Peace Corps. This heartfelt story reassures me that I am on the right path and inspires me onwards. With the help and guidance of Toastmasters I am confident of achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a motivational speaker. One day I will help inspire people to acheive their goals live their dreams and change their lives for the better forever.