I got really excited when we were asked to think about something we could bring to give to the children of the Capotillo Chorus in the Dominican Republic. I’ve been reading about practices of giving a lot during the past few months and one suggests giving something you feel that you couldn’t live without.
In 2009, I was struggling in multiple ways while away at school. When I realized I am in complete control of my well-being, I decided to keep a smile on my face for an entire day and see how it changed my outlook on life. On top of blurting uncharacteristically intelligent comments in all of my classes and having a fabulous time at a football game with a group of strangers, I got a call from Francisco—whom I hadn’t spoken to in 2 years—inviting me to join the chorus in Switzerland. That situation is one of the experiences I reference when reminding myself amazing things happen when your keep your mentality positive.
While away, Francisco bought a huge stuffed St. Bernard and the chorister who performed the best for that day was awarded the dog in the evening and allowed to borrow it for the night. As an alumni, I knew I would never get it, but the teenager in me sort of wanted to be praised for old-time’s-sake. The concert in Switzerland was fantastic! We had the entire crowd on their feet dancing along and we did three encores. None of us were thinking about the dog because we all knew we did a fantastic job, but when we returned to the hotel, Francisco pulled out a bag of stuffed St. Bernard puppies and handed them out to every single chorister. I still have mine, and I take it with me on challenging days to remind me not only of the fantastic trip, but what an adjusted mental representation of the world has given me.
This dog is often times something I feel I can’t live without, so I’ve decided to give it away. It is the message behind the dog and not the dog itself that I need to take with me on challenging days. Along with a small bag of summer clothes I’ve outgrown, I’m going to bring the dog and give it to one of the children in the Dominican Republic. I hope it brings him or her the same fortune it has always brought me.
– Shay, YPC Alum