Want to make a change in your community? You don’t have to be building schools in third-world countries to make a difference; you can impact people’s lives in your own neighborhood.
Sarah Lamb is an 18-year-old rising sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill double majoring in music performance (she plays the trombone) and communication studies. Sarah loves getting involved at school—she plays in four different bands at UNC, does mission trips with her church, works in the library, plays intermural volleyball, and is a sister of women’s music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota all while maintaining a 3.5 GPA—but she also loves to give back to her community in a personal way.
For a week and a half earlier this summer, Sarah took care of an elderly woman named Phyllis who had Alzheimer’s disease. Every weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sarah would keep Phyllis company by talking with her, watching TV with her, going for walks with her, and helping her clean her house. Just spending time with Phyllis opened Sarah’s eyes to the difficulty of living with a mind-altering disease.
“Every day we would have the same conversation at least four times, showing me how quickly your mind can leave you in old age. Simple tasks like preparing a sandwich become impossible and finding your purse is frustrating,” says Sarah.
Sarah thought keeping Phyllis company during the day would be easy, but it turned out to be extremely difficult emotionally. One day, Phyllis kept asking Sarah when “they” were coming home. When Sarah asked who “they” were, she responded: “Mom and Dad.”
“She kept saying how she wanted to go home and started getting really upset,” Sarah says. “I calmed her down, reassuring her that [her daughter] Fran will be home soon and that this was her home now.
“While all of that was happening, I was on the verge of tears. Later that night when I got back to my house I completely broke down when I was talking to my dad. It made me think about how Alzheimer's could affect my parents and loved ones just as easily,” Sarah says.
But as much as Sarah helped out Phyllis every day, Phyllis also helped out Sarah by teaching her the power of positivity in the face of difficulty.
“Phyllis always had a joyful attitude and way about her. No matter how many times we had the same conversation, she would always be smiling and so happy to just be in company with another [person],” Sarah says. “It taught me that no matter what the situation, put your heart and whole self into it.”
It’s easy to make a difference in your own backyard. Sarah advises to “always look for opportunities to help, even if they aren't announced or requested.”
“If you see someone who needs help carrying groceries to their car, or finding their car for that matter, put yourself out there,” she says. “It may be awkward or uncomfortable at first, but the person will truly appreciate it.”
Now you can also help make a difference by just one click. For every Wave for Change® video view at Neutrogena.com/waveforchange or on Facebook.com/Neutrogena, Neutrogena® will donate $1 to GlobalGiving to support U.S. educational charities. Watch. Donate. Share.
Any Neutrogena® Wave for Change® video views on Neutrogena.com/waveforchange and on Neutrogena® page on Facebook 7/1/12-8/31/12 will activate $1 donation to GlobalGiving. Neutrogena® will kick-off Wave for Change® with $100K donation. Then, for each eligible video view, Neutrogena® will donate for a maximum of $130K. For more information about GlobalGiving, visit GlobalGiving.org.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Neutrogena® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Neutrogena®.