On January 19, 1990, I received one of the greatest honors of my life. I remember it was a Friday afternoon after school when I received a call from the White House. Like most of you, my first thought was “this is a prank”… only it wasn’t. The President was calling me to name me as his 45th Point of Light in his 1,000 Points of Light Program.
Early in President Bush Senior’s administration, he gave a famous speech where he encouraged Americans to be points of light in their communities. He desired that the spirit of volunteerism would spread throughout America. That people from all walks of life would be inspired to do good in their communities.
I have always had a heart for people, even at a young age. I worked with physically and mentally disabled children as far back as elementary school. When I got a little older ,I volunteered at a daycare on Saturdays that provided parent’s with disabled children a “day off.” I also worked as a high school student to start a drug-free club in my high school. This program was such a success that I worked to spread the model of the club across the state of Georgia.
Because of this honor, I had the privilege to meet President Bush on three different occasions: once at Dobbins Air Force Base shortly after I received the 1,000 Points of Light Awards, once at the official signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (such an honor to be invited to attend the ceremony), and once at Disney World where Michael Eisner had all the Points of Light gather for a celebration.
As we mourn President Bush, we can celebrate his legacy of volunteerism in America.
I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in. – President George Bush Inaugural Address January 20, 1989.
Want to be a point of light in your community but don’t know where to start? You can search for opportunities in your area: www.pointsoflight.org/volunteer/opportunities or www.volunteermatch.org. Make a difference today!