Give to Receive Smiles, Not Gifts

by Emily Jones

Emily Jones smiles
Emily Jones

Start thinking about tomorrow and what you can do to make a difference.

Every day I am with my campers, I try to make it my number-one goal to make sure that each day of theirs is better than the last, whether that be by making them smile or picking an activity that they enjoy for us to do together. I do this because a goal in my life is to make as many people happy each day as possible, and a great example of who I aspire to be is Dr. Bharati B. Mody. Last night, Dr. Mody joined us in Gary Ransdell Hall for an insightful and inspiring presentation on the joys of service learning. A founding member of the Advisory Board of The Center for Gifted Studies, he and his wife, Dr. Bharati Mody, created the Doctors Mody Minority Scholarship for VAMPY in 2001 and established the Mody Endowed Fund in Service Learning at The Center in 2020.

Dr. Mody explained that he is a retired surgeon after 33 years in practice, during which he spent all his free time giving back to his and other communities. For example, he described his charity work in Lexington, and how he would drive all the way from Glasgow to perform surgeries on patients who did not have insurance. He also spoke about his time helping Habitat for Humanity: although he was a well-trained surgeon, he had to be taught how to hammer a nail.

Out of all the stories and advice that Dr. Mody presented to the campers on Tuesday, what stuck out to me the most was how passionate he was about volunteer work. A quote from his message that resonated with me was his take on a good volunteer: “A good volunteer is always there to make a difference without griping or complaining about anything, and at the same time, they are learning and helping others along the way.” I as a child, I would frequently serve the less fortunate with my church every Sunday, and just like Dr. Mody said, the best part about giving back is not what you expect in return, but the inner joy that you receive when doing it. I am so thankful that we were able to have Dr. Mody come speak to our campers because it is never too early to give back to your community.