Essay: Ashley Geleta, 18s

“What a Starling Can Do to Help the Children in Haiti ”

Ashley Geleta – Starlings Volleyball Clubs – Baltimore, Maryland – 18’s Gold

It was fierce, magnanimous and frightening, and it hit Haiti with no remorse. The earthquake, that would wreck havoc throughout Port-au-Prince and its surrounding villages, leaving millions of Haitians helpless and defeated, erupted in Haiti and could not be stopped. No geologist, no President, no force could stop this earthquake from causing mass panic and pain, and the Haiti that was trying to progress slumped back into its rut as each shock destroyed buildings, roads, and entire lifetimes of success. With each shock, and following aftershocks, Haiti continued to shatter, and the rest of the world was left in awe, speechless in the light of this tragedy.

The news reports were all the same, revealing the devastation through each shot of footage and broadcast of the damage. Each station relayed the same message: that Haiti needed help desperately. It was utter chaos throughout the streets and communities in Haiti and the rest of the world banned together to fight for the survival of the millions of Haitians trapped amongst fallen buildings and dented cars. As the death toll rose, the world knew that there was nothing else to do but continue to fight for the survivors and send helicopters filled with food, water, medicine, and doctors. Huge entities helped to save as many lives as possible and trained professionals were rushed across the oceans to assist in the mending of this broken country.

I too saw the news reports, the shocking images of orphaned children, homeless citizens, and ruined infrastructure. It was the very next day after the earthquake had hit Haiti ; I walked the halls of the school, wondering about the situation. Each helpless victim’s face raced through my mind as I began to see “Help Haiti” flyers plastered on the walls. I knew people who lived in Haiti , heard about those who had set off to help, and worried for everyone’s safety. However, the Haitian children, the children just like me, who walked the hallways of their schools just as I was, never crossed my mind. They were not mentioned on the news broadcasts, never mentioned in conversations about the situation. What was to become of them after the recovery? Would they still be able to learn in spite of the ruins that now were their schools? What could I, a mere teenager, do to help these children, children that I had never met before, to help them survive this tragedy?

Despite the fact that I am a teenager, there is so much that I can do for the children of Haiti . Even if I am not a doctor who can heal wounds or perform lifesaving surgeries, I knew that the most important thing I could do was to have hope. This four letter word was the most important thing in helping to do my part in aiding the children who wanted to walk down the hallways of their school. I could not stop hoping for help in Haiti and knew that with hope, I could help save lives. Even if I only was able to help save one life, it was still one more child that may one day see his or her future. Hope. I just couldn’t lose hope; it was essential to healing Haiti . It was obvious that Haiti would need more than my silly hope idea, but by not losing faith, I could continue to raise awareness of the situations, and would not allow the children of Haiti to be forgotten amongst the ruins of their nation.

Being a Starling gives one an identity. It links one to a group, an organization, a community. As a member of the Starlings, I feel that I have a voice, a voice that could even help to save an entire country. A Starling has a community, a community that they are a part of, a community that can unite and help others. Together, each and every Starling has the power to make a difference, and through the unification of this group, we can help the children of Haiti through fundraising, support, and encouragement.

As a Starling, I am a part of a large community, from the members of my team, to all of the other volleyball clubs and teams in my community and nation. Together, these teams, parents, siblings, coaches and spectators are all a part of my community and can help Haiti to recover. Together, our Starlings community can help the Haitian children to one day be able to step foot on the school grounds and live the lives that were destroyed in the earthquake. I knew that with a little hope, we could truly make a difference. From the fundraisers that I participated in, to the voice I used to raise awareness, I feel that I made a huge difference. Sure, the United States may have raised more money than I did, but I knew that somewhere in Haiti, there was a child that benefited from all from all of the fundraising, all of the aid, and all of the hope that I, a Baltimore Starling, had and helped to spread throughout my community.

A Starling can help the children of Haiti more than one realizes. We, the Starlings all across the nation, have voices. When united, these voices can help raise awareness or help begin fundraisers. Each Starling also has a pair of hands, hands that can rebuild Haiti . With these hands, a Starling can do more than play volleyball, but instead can reach out to Haitians. We can use these implements to build a school, administer medicine to patients, or even comfort an affected child with a hug. While one Starling may struggle while trying to help save Haiti , thousands of Starlings can truly make a difference. It excites me to know that the Starlings community truly had the ability to help Haiti , to help to rebuild the lives of children just like us. Coming together will not only help thousands of children, but will also prove how strong the Starlings community is. Together, a united Starlings community had the ability and opportunity to work together and rebuild a devastated country. Being a Staling is more than just belonging to a team; being a Starling means belonging to a community, a community that has to potential to help others.

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