Summer is that distinct time of the year between Spring and Autumn when the days are long and the nights are short. It’s usually characterized by being pretty hot and filled with many different activities that can’t be done for the other months of the year. It’s glorified by movies and music as the time to live hard and love deeply.
When you think about it, summer is actually a lot like being young. Like a newly opened flower that hasn’t reached its full potential, we are old enough that we know enough about the world around us to survive. At the same time, we are still at that point where there is still so much we can know and do. We are still not aware of how beautiful we are going to look when we bloom, and how far we can spread our seeds of hope.
As a young person, it is a great time to grow and be rooted in the things that feed the soul. It is the best time in our lives to branch out and experience the world around us. It is this time in our lives that we have more opportunities to search for what gives us purpose, and where we can find meaning. How we spend our summers when we are young is more relevant than we think.
This summer, I decided to dedicate my time to working with the World Youth Alliance in New York. WYA was the first organization to teach me the incredible necessity of acknowledging your own dignity and those of everyone around you. To me, that is a powerful and admirable concept to live by, and it is one worth fighting for.
In a world that is increasingly commercialized with media that dictates how you should look or how to act in order to be accepted as well as social media that says your value as a person is related to how many likes or favorites you receive on your photos, it is a healthy reminder that your worth is never determined by someone else.
It is an especially amazing experience to have found a movement with such passionate young people whose energy seems boundless even during the most stressful of days. It is a great reminder that our age is no reason to not get on our feet and do things for the causes we care about.
In a world that is increasingly commercialized with social media that says your value as a person is related to how many likes or favorites you receive on your photos, it is a healthy reminder that your worth is never determined by someone else.
Seeing so many give up so much of themselves, using their skills, their time and their effort for a movement that is close to their hearts is probably one of the strongest and most tangible experience of Dignity that I have witnessed. It’s also a valuable experience of something that I want to share.
So perhaps, I might not be able to go to the beach as much this summer and I won’t be able to travel as often, but I’ve come to realize sometimes there are things worth staying put for. It’s always summer time when you’re doing something that you love.
Quina Baterna is an Intern for the WYA International Internship Program in New York City.