Education Week: A single person can change the world

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Katelyn Johnson
Katelyn Johnson serves the children in Kenya, Africa. While not everyone can travel the world, they are still capable of making a difference.

Life on earth is a short moment in the span of existence; a tiny dot in the scheme of things. A dot that can appear both meaningless and overwhelming to many, but what happens when people look for “something more”? In his BYU Education Week class, BYU alumni and entrepreneur Scott Porter gave a taste of what international humanitarian service is like and how it is possible to get more out of life by putting energy into “something more.”

For Porter, his quest to find that “something more” started with a friendly conversation between young single adults in a Washington D.C. living room. These young adults understood that there was more to life than money, resources and belongings and wanted to create meaningful opportunities for other single adults.

They wanted to use their skills and talents to bless the lives of others, Porter said, but only in a meaningful way which would answer people’s needs. Porter was looking for a “hands on, boots on the ground” kind of experience.

Soon, what started with a group of eight young single adults turned into a successful organization. Singular Humanitarian Experience (SHE), now regroups hundreds of single adult volunteers who serve together around the world in sustainable humanitarian development. Through this organization they have a chance to change the life of others and make a difference.

However, as Porter pointed out, “something more” might look different from one individual to another. How then can people know what “something more” looks like to them? Porter explained that it does not have to be something big or an experience that requires people to travel across the world.

As President Thomas S. Monson explained, “We might not be able to do everything, but we can and we must do something.”

To some people, “something more” might be reaching out to a friend, working for a nonprofit or simply serving their church and community. “It is important that people find that personal thing they can do,” Porter said.

Porter, remembering his time among the people of Nepal, explained that sometimes the most important thing someone can do is to “Be here.” One of Porter’s biggest impacts on the villagers in Nepal was his presence and support. By traveling to their country, he showed those villagers how important they were and how much people cared about them.

“Acting on my ‘something more’ brought me intense joy. I have found it almost impossible to express the total joy I feel during these Singular Humanitarian Experience expeditions,” Porter said.

What about when life is overwhelming and that “something more” does not seem convenient or possible? Porter, while quoting Elder Russell M. Nelson, explained that although life is only a moment, “’Now is the time’ for people to perform their labors, to prepare to meet God and learn to build meaningful relationships. What people humbly offer, however small they think their offer might be, God will work with them and will magnify that meager offering.”

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