Making a Difference
As most high school students are hanging out with their friends and goofing off, young Tegan McGrady is changing children’s lives. Tegan has recently been collecting soccer equipment to donate to the Robleatto Childcare Center in Costa Rica. She visited this school with her Regional ODP team last year on their trip to Costa Rica and it changed her life forever.
Tegan and her team took a bus to Robleatto Childcare Center to hang out and play with these children for an hour. Throughout the duration of this hour, Tegan’s outlook on life was changed and her heart was touched. She saw how much these children did not have and it was disheartening. She took this discouraging feeling and immediately turned it around. She saw this as an opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life. It was at this moment that Tegan felt inspired to take action and help out as soon as she returned to the United States.
Upon her return to the United States, Tegan took on the tough task of figuring out how she could help these kids that are not as fortunate. She took matters into her own hands and created a newsletter that was delivered throughout her soccer club in San Jose, California. A club meeting was held and Tegan addressed them with the issue at hand, asking for anyone who is willing to contribute any old soccer equipment that they would be willing to donate. The response was very positive and many individuals were more than willing to help out. It then took Tegan three months to collect and organize all the equipment into its appropriate categories. She said, "I can picture the happiness on their faces when they receive their new gear."
Picturing the happiness and excitement on the children’s faces is one of the most rewarding outcomes that Tegan has gained from this experience alongside the feeling of helping others out. She said it is rewarding helping others and "it changes your life knowing that you are changing other people’s lives." She is providing these children with an experience that they may never endure in their lifetime. She believes that life is not all about you and that you should "give back when you can." However, these children changed Tegan’s life forever as well.
Tegan explained that the children taught her lessons about life that can’t be learned from a book. She continued to say that you have to keep going and give back when you can. She encourages anyone who has the opportunity to help out in any way, to embrace that chance. If you can’t find somewhere to help, find an area that you are passionate about and create your own place. Find a place where you want to make a difference in people’s lives. Tegan discovered an area where she wanted to make a difference, and she did