Fourteen is the age to sleep until noon, obsess over texting, and crave the latest and greatest computer game. Not to mention adjust to high school. Homework, studying, and fun. It can often be difficult to find a perfect balance between the three. Especially when you have this burning desire to help others and do something constructive with your free time. Meet me, Jacob Cramer, a freshman at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio.
My whole life, I have eagerly wanted to benefit my community and make a difference in this world. When trying to think of ways to better society, I turned to the elderly, a group that does not receive the kindness or attention they deserve. The elderly have paved the pathway to success for my generation, and they deserve to be appreciated and loved. Nevertheless, it was quite apparent to me after my grandfather’s passing that the elderly so often feel lonely and neglected, especially those in assisted living facilities. In November of 2013, I set out to bring a little bit of extra happiness into the lives of the elderly through handwritten letters. Since then, I have collected and distributed nearly ten thousand letters to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, coming from all around the world.
It’s been really amazing to see how my organization has changed the lives of the elderly. The amount of positive response I have received has been simply incredible, and it is overwhelming to look at how my organization has grown. Who would have thought that one teenage boy creating a little community service project for himself could have turned into such a huge movement of kindness!
I did not set out for recognition or accolades. No, I set out to change the world for the better. My experiences have shown me that the world really is a wonderful place, and that there are so many kind souls out there willing to help others. I believe with all my heart that kindness is the key to happiness.
When I die, I want to be remembered as a giver. As a philanthropist. As a kind-hearted person who wanted nothing but the best for others.
Think deeply about each of the following sets of words and what they represent. “Top-class, rich, good-looking.” “Kind, humble, compassionate.” For which set of words would YOU like to be remembered? While the choice may not be an easy one, I think we can all agree: The actions we make today will have a major impact on the world of tomorrow. “Be the person that makes others feel special. Be remembered for your kindness and grace.” ~Unknown
Please, I encourage you to start giving back to your community. It does not have to be through my organization. Nonetheless, whatever venue you may choose, I promise you this: You will be glad you did it.
Jacob Cramer, Founder of Love For The Elderly