A couple of years ago, I received a gift that would teach me a lesson I will never forget. I began working at age eight, delivering newspapers, and never stopped. My father thought I would value my education more if I paid for it myself. In college, I often juggled two jobs and a full schedule in order to achieve my goals and dreams. Many times, I would go days without sleeping. A couple of years ago, after graduation, a distant uncle invited me to lunch. He asked about my student loans. I quickly attempted to change the subject, ashamed of how in debt I was. I would be struggling to pay 500 dollars per month for the next 10 years to repay my debt. He pulled out his checkbook and said, “all you have to do is give me a number.” Tears ran down my face because it was my debt, not his.  He reassured me saying, “you are one investment that I know will have a positive return.”  He wrote me a check for the full amount of my student loans. I cannot describe to you the impact this single act had on my life, not just financially, but completely. He never asked me to pay him back or mentioned it again.  This lesson of generosity and plenty changed me forever.

So many have given me their time, energy, and support over the years; Family, teachers, employers, friends and strangers.  All of them have made me who I am today.  It is because of their efforts that I have something to share.

A gift is never “deserved.” That is the definition of a gift. Sometimes, just one person believing in you can change your world. The beauty in the gift of giving is that it works like a ripple. It doesn’t stop; it is continuous. Love is an action worth believing in.

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