Dictionary.com defines a hero as “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.”
It is true that when most people think of a hero, they think of a fireman running into a house in flames to save the child inside. They think of the soldier fighting for our country, risking his life for our freedom. They think of someone with courage, someone who is in fact, admired for his brave deeds.
When most people think of a hero, they don’t think of the people who persevere through unimaginable challenges, or of the people who perform small, yet still-heroic acts, such as writing a letter to a child in need of a friend. Undoubtedly, the fireman and the soldier are honorable heroes who we should all look up to, but so are those who are often looked over; the everday heros.
Being a hero is as simple as showing strength and helping someone in need, and helping someone in need is as simple as writing a letter to a child and showing him or her someone out there cares.
Sophomore Beth Radcliffe is offering an opportunity to be that hero, with the program she brought to Holliston in which students at the high school can sign up to have a pen pal with a child from the Vision School in Rundu, Namibia. The children taking part in the pen pal program range from ages thirteen to twenty-four, and they come from all sorts of villages.
“All of them have been either orphaned or abandoned,” Radcliffe told me in a recent interview. “My goal is to eventually Skype with our students and the other students.”
Beth has been connected to the program in Namibia through a friend who is teaching the students through the World Teach program. She hopes to pair people up with their pen pals over the next few weeks.
All of the students in Namibia can speak English, and many of them are in desperate need of a friend, as they have either lost their families to death or abandonment. Writing a letter to a child once in a while seems so simple, but it can change these children’s lives. And who knows, maybe you can gain a friendship through this simple yet heroic act.
Although reaching out to those in need might be a worthy act, these children are heroes, too. They have pushed through hardships we couldn’t even begin to imagine. They have lost their homes and their families. They have been left with nothing. And yet they are still standing strong.
When someone struggles through a challenge as unimaginable as this, they need a hero. We have the opportunity to become that hero. We have the opportunity to show these children that we care, that they are not alone. We can become their heroes, and all it take is a letter.