“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
My name is Jeanette Morelan, and in just nine days, I will be leaving my home in Wisconsin and traveling to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. As I sit here and write these words, even now, I still don’t believe it. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was sitting in a classroom with my Social Entrepreneurship advisor and hearing about the Lumos Award, a way for students to bring their light to places all around the world while at the same time illuminating things within themselves through their once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I was skeptical that I would ever be accepted to the program, but on that day in November, a spark was lit.
It’s amazing what a little bit of faith can do.
My dream of learning more about community development and myself through an experience abroad was made reality thanks to my Lumos Award. And now, with flights booked, bags not-quite packed, and an adventure ahead, my heart is filled with nothing but gratefulness.
During my time in Port Elizabeth, I will be working with United Through Sport, a partner of Frontier, my original travel organization. Not only will I be assisting in providing disadvantaged communities with support and assistance, from education to physical resources, I will also be learning first-hand about the importance of empowerment as a solution to social issues. As an aspiring social entrepreneur, my life’s passion is to help address social issues by empowering individuals both economically and spiritually.
I believe that the two greatest resources in solving this world’s problems are our innate desire to feel purposeful and our innate desire to help others find their purpose. When we connect both, we create real, lasting change.
In a world that is rocked by seemingly insurmountable economic, political, and social issues, it can be easy to simply want to curse the darkness: to give up, avert our gaze, and simply turn the other way.
But I believe there’s another way. Be the light.
Through the experiences I’ve had at Belmont and now with the physical support of the Lumos Award, I am hoping to not only shine a light in the darkness, but to help spark a movement—first, within myself, then, to all those who are impacted and will hear about my experience, and then...who knows? I’m ready to find out.
Stay tuned with more pre-travel updates and follow my experience on social media with the hashtag #JensLumosJourney.
Let’s go light a candle.