Friday, January 28, 2011

My Inspiration to Serve

By Erica Obebe, corps member serving on the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield HOPE Team

When I think of the motivations that inspire me to serve, I am fortunate to have many come to mind. I have been motivated by teachers, extended family members, close friends, and public figures. When thinking of the people who have inspired me most, I immediately look to my parents as a source of inspiration for my service as a City Year corps member. I have been fortunate to benefit from their experience and continuous support of my own goals, thus instilling in me the interest to support and guide the best educational interest of students. 

My father immigrated to the United States from Nigeria in August 1976. The same year, he began a program of studies in Mass Communications and Political Science at Oklahoma State University. He soon transferred to Howard University in 1978. After graduation, he went on to earn his JD from Howard and LLM from Temple University, with a concentration in International Law of Human Rights. He was active in campus organizations and he maintained excellent academic records even as he held down odd jobs to earn income for his tuition and boarding. His twenty-one plus years of government service is a testimony to his commitment to public service. His story is inspiring to me because I understand that he was quite courageous and focused to have fulfilled his goals.

My mother is a native of Roanoke, Virginia. One of the youngest of nine children my mom also sought high achievement despite the limited resources of her small hometown. She earned her Bachelor’s in English and Economics from Hollins University. She has enjoyed both an engaging life of volunteerism and professionalism since her graduation through her service with our church and frequent volunteer activities in the Roanoke community. I feel inspired by her self-motivation.

My parents are incredibly inspiring to me. It seems that they always know the value of taking new opportunities to seek excellence. Reflecting on my parents’ coming-of-age stories, I see in my parents the true spirit of determination that I strive for in my own development. My parents always supported my decision to join City Year, an organization that I know makes my parents proud to know inspires service.

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