The inner city children had an after school program that involved contribution to the society. They were to create a program that the society could use to generate income. The children I interacted with were a part of the ‘Community Service’ class that was split into four groups. The group that would present the most profitable project would receive cash in return.
I communicated with a group called Raldo, which was named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, a champion of the American value for self-reliance. Their project involved buying a washing machine worth a thousand dollars. The children’s home was the intended beneficiary of the machine that was to be used for assisting them in running a laundry business. My interaction with the team enabled me to learn and appreciate the value of self-reliance.
Firstly, Ralph (2013) states that “man is his own star” (p. 86). Therefore, he/she is the only person that can influence the fate. Raldo portrayed this value of self-reliance by opening a joint bank account. They contributed to the project through fundraising where close friends and relatives were the significant contributors.
I made my contribution to the project as well by wiring $50 to the account. The group drew motivation from Ralph’s philosophy: “a man believes in his own heart” (Emerson, 2013). Therefore, they were convinced that people would help them gather the required money needed for the project. The conviction enabled the group to raise $300 within the first week of the project.
Secondly, the group had to devise new means of raising the remaining cash. Ralph (2013) stated that a man did not know how much he could do until he made a move and tries. He went ahead and said that a man gained relief and peace when he did his best to achieve his goals. Raldo was committed to helping the children’s home in acquiring the washing machine.
Therefore, they came up with a better method of raising the remaining cash. They baked cakes, which they sold to fellow students during break times. This enabled them to raise $200 dollars within a period of two weeks. I also helped the group in marketing and selling the cakes to the lecturers. The group’s aggressive attitude taught me to become self-reliant and persistent in my work (Emerson, 2013).
Finally, the group was motivated by Ralph’s (2013) saying, “as soon as a man act or speak with éclat, he is a committed person, watched by the sympathy of hundreds, whose affections must now enter into his account” (p. 88). Raldo created great expectations within the children’s home management. The children received pieces of advice regarding the project, and were prepared to receive the machine. The group members ensured that they raised the remaining $500 within three months. They organized an entertainment program within the school compound.
Several Raldo members entertained the crowd by performing comic works. With my help, the administration agreed to allow the group to perform in the school auditorium. They placed the entry fee at $10 per person. By the end of the show, Raldo gathered $1,000. This figure was $500 above what they expected. The group’s self-reliance attitude taught me that people could achieve their goals at all costs. I also learnt to become more aggressive and vigilant in achieving my goals (Emerson, 2013).
Emerson, R.W. (2013) Self-reliance. Kirkpatrick Signature Series: Book 1.