Shakespeare has nothing on the great Forrest Gump when he said the classic line “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get!”
Well, I didn’t have many boxes of chocolates this FFA Week while in North Carolina but I of course had some great BBQ, met some stellar people, and really saw how this quote was true as each day brought new adventures.
Many of us have seen the movie Forrest Gump and can quote several lines. This line about chocolates is probably the most recognizable to us. Every day brings with it new challenges, hardships, and those moments that make our heart smile. We don’t necessarily know what is in store for us each day but we can be fully confident in the fact that we can each do something great for others both in our communities and even globally.
I saw first-hand during FFA week how FFA members do make an impact in their communities by having breakfasts, animal nurseries and Ag literacy projects, coordinating career fairs, and even building up school spirit. Yet, FFA members’ impact travels far beyond their own communities. FFA members can and do make a giant difference for people halfway around the world.
We hear the word ‘global’ and the fact that it encompasses each individual around the world. We hear about how food production is crucial to saving lives. Although it can sometimes be hard to recognize how we can make that impact for others outside our community, FFA members continually amaze me in how much determination and thought they give to others next door and others over 1,000 miles away.
The determination of one FFA member can literally save lives. While my teammates and I went to our first schools to give workshops, I was able to meet one person that showed me that when focus and passion meet, anything is possible.
I met Jessica at Lebanon High School. Jessica has a heart for service and a passion to help others. I learned that Jessica had gone to Haiti on a mission trip to help in any way that she could. While she was there, she saw that children were not getting medical assistance and nothing seemed to be getting done.
This fired up Jessica and she was driven to help. When she returned, she has put her focus on setting up STAR Missions (starmissions.org). This is a program that helps to raise money to help children have the medical attention that they need. Jessica lives out her favorite quote, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Jessica truly is making a difference around the world.
Similar to Jessica, my good friend Austin is an FFA member from Virginia and has seen a need and has focused on doing what he can to solve this problem. Austin has been able to do a lot of travel in his life and on one particular mission trip to Nicaragua; he realized that “no one should have to live in such poverty just because of where they are from…” Motivated to help, Austin has devoted much time and energy in building “Feed By Seed.” (Check it out on Facebook!)
This organization that he started is focused on raising agricultural resources, with an emphasis on education, to help people produce enough food for themselves and their families. Austin says that “Through educating underdeveloped countries on agriculture we can help save lives through an abundance of secure food.” Austin sees the need and has reached out to find what he can do to help in the global marketplace.
Jessica and Austin are just two great examples of FFA members that are actively engaged in the global marketplace. Each one started off by having that heart of service. Then they took action and began reaching their own potential. We all can make that kind of impact each and every day. I saw it during FFA Week and I continue to see it each day I meet new FFA members.
Each day brings with it something completely new. When Jenny asked “Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you’re going to be?” Forrest responded, “Aren’t-aren’t I going to be me?”
We don’t know what each day will bring but if we are focused on who we are and how we can help others, we most certainly have the power to help make a change in our backyard or around the world!
Wyatt DeJong is the 2010-2011 National FFA Central Region Vice President. He is a member of the Winner High School FFA chapter in South Dakota. He currently attends South Dakota State University where he studies agricultural education and animal science.