Nathan Snizik - Grade 8, Incarnation Catholic School
One time that I stayed happy even when others around me weren’t was when my playground was being built. My playground was a project that I started after I visited a local school while I was on vacation in Negril, Jamaica. Although it took almost 5 years to come to life, I stayed happy throughout the whole process. Others more deeply involved in the project were having their own ups and downs, with construction delays, the delay in breaking ground, and government changes which put the project at a standstill. Even as this was going on around me, I stayed optimistic and happy, thinking about the kids and what they would be getting, even if it took 10 years.
I just kept thinking about those kids, with their smiling faces, from my previous visits to the school and how happy they would be when it was done. Sure, some of them might not still be at the school when it was done, but them knowing that their siblings, neighbors or friends would be there was enough. During this time, when the adults that were more involved in the details of the project were dealing with planning, construction, and constant delays, I was here raising funds, gathering school supplies to send down, and still checking in with them about what they needed while the new school and playground was built. Because I never gave up hope in thinking about the kids while I was fundraising and collecting supplies, the adults doing the day-to-day work never gave up hope either.
I didn’t realize that keeping my positive, happy attitude and remaining hopeful had an influence on those adults until I arrived there in December for the official opening of my playground. The plan all along had been to tear down the dilapidated old school and playground and replace it with a brand-new school and playground. They did build a new school and playground, but the playground that I built is now part of the old school. To my surprise, the government decided to keep it open because of my long and hard work of supporting those kids with supplies that I had been sending for 5 years. They also made much-needed improvements, and now they have two great schools, two great playgrounds, and a lot of happy kids and parents.
I learned that keeping a positive attitude and staying happy and hopeful, kept the adults who were struggling to do the same, from losing hope. Did I make a difference in these kids’ lives? Absolutely! More importantly, I am hopeful that when I or others around me are faced with challenging situations in the future, that my positive, happy attitude will inspire hope in others around me.