There have been times in my career where I have questioned what I am doing and the depth of my accomplishments. It has been a struggle at times to justify my contributions the world and to society. I understand why a person would look at what I am doing and view it as shallow or materialistic; it is, of course, completely on the surface. I understand any knock against it, but I have come to be grateful for being able to make a living doing something I love and in turn making others feel confident and comfortable with themselves. This, after all, is something all humans in every existence can relate to.
The desire to serve and help others is a trait I would like to believe all people have within themselves, some more deeply buried than others. This was my reasoning for getting into teaching in the first place, to share what I have in the hope that it will help someone else; to plant a seed and watch it grow. Heather approached me with her idea to take our trade and share it with less fortunate; a group of young women who may not otherwise have an opportunity at higher education. To give them a skill set they can use and hopefully empower them towards a better quality of life.
I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved on any level and fortunately for me that meant being heavily involved. I went into it without really asking many questions rather jumping headfirst and figuring everything out as things moved forward. I had never been to India and admittedly knew very little about the culture but the experience was more than I could have possibly imagined. My goal going to Rishikesh was to give the students the tools necessary for a self sustaining career in cosmetology but the closer I became with the women it became clear empowerment was also about building confidence and having courage. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I realized it was me who had learned an incredible amount from the young women at the vocational center.