The Power of Giving
By Ally Keirn, Army West Point Athletic Communications
Selflessness is a common trait amongst cadets attending the U.S. Military Academy. To some, selflessness is putting it all on the line to protect other people while expecting nothing in return, and to others selflessness is when you have little to give, but you find a way to help others also while expecting nothing in return.
To first classmen Shelby Lindsay, selflessness is sacrificing her comforts, helping those that are less fortunate and giving back to the world community in any way that she can. As an athlete, she plays lacrosse for her love of the game. And as an individual dedicated to making a difference, she volunteers for her love of people.
For someone who is actively involved in the Corps of Cadets, is the Community Service Officer of Company A-2, and is a co-captain of the Division I women's lacrosse program after walking on her sophomore year, Lindsay flawlessly finds the time to do a little extra to impact others.
"Shelby is an incredibly gifted and special young woman," said Noto Family women's lacrosse head coach Kristen Skiera. "She has an innate ability to deeply connect with those around her and form meaningful and strong bonds. She chooses to make people a priority. She is always helping others find success and build their confidence. I don't even know how she finds the time to sleep with all of the extra things she takes on in service to others."
An example of this was when Lindsay forwent rare leave time and jumped on a volunteering opportunity across the world instead of going home for a few weeks over the summer. She found herself in Cape Coast, Ghana, teaching in the Foundation for Educational Development and Economic Promotion (FEDEP) school district with classes that had over 60 students.
"It was perspective changing," Lindsay said with a big grin on her face as she recalled this once in a lifetime experience. "I grew up in the same community my whole life and in the same school district. I think, until I saw something that was so different, I didn't appreciate the educational opportunities that I had."
She was in awe of her young students who were passionate about everything at school. They valued their education and stayed after for hours just to soak up extra knowledge.
"Despite it being a completely different culture, their goals and dreams are just how ours are, but on a different scale. How we may aspire to go to college, many of them hope to graduate high school or chase different career paths. It was neat to see how similar we were despite the different circumstances."
Lindsay embraced her time in the foreign country, and although she is back on the banks of the Hudson, she still dedicated to helping the children of FEDEP, one of the highest performing schools in the region.
Currently, the Engineers Corps bound senior is setting up interactions with her company with a school in the Bronx, N.Y., is aiding in a Youth Impact Group initiated by sprint football manager cadet Kevin Larry, is in the works for a "Unified Sports" activity day with the women's lacrosse team and disabled children which was created by fellow cadet Jordan Isham. She is also coordinating cadet trips to aid in "Homes for the Homeless" and is also chairing a "New Chapters" initiative with FEDEP.
Lindsay is the founder of the "New Chapters" cause which organizes the collection of books and resources along with the funds to ship the coveted reading materials that will be housed in the new library Lindsay assisted in building while oversees.
She is able to volunteer her time to do all of this along with her extensive course work and extra hours spent playing and captaining an intercollegiate sport. Because of this, Lindsay exemplifies the power of giving, but the volunteering doesn't end there.
"I am starting a partnership between the school district in Ghana that I volunteered at and the district in Pittsburgh that I grew up in. I talked to both school's principals and we are setting up a pen pal system. The school district had a book drive and they are collecting money for shipping fees. That is the big thing that I am working on right now. We have four boxes set up and I am writing to Webster and different dictionary and encyclopedia companies because they don't have a library. The students can't afford their textbooks and other important books, but they have the desire to read. There are only a few books in the school and they are coveted. That is what we are trying to help."
She takes on these extra opportunities just because she enjoys it, and that is how you can recognize the selfless quality within her.
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