Circle of Giving

  • By Joshua Dacres

    Monday, November 5, 2018

    Editor's note: This essay is adapted from remarks the writer delivered during the 2018 President's Donor Reception Oct. 25.

    What is life without the ability to receive and give gifts? Giving can create an array of many colorful perspectives, and a world of many great opportunities. I have been at both ends of that giving spectrum. 

    Among my earliest recollections of giving occurred on Thanksgiving in New York City, when I aided in feeding the less fortunate. A little act of kindness went a very long way for so many people. I remember the smiles coming from those in need as I nervously took a piece of turkey from the warming tray and placed it on someone's plate. 

    I am thankful to my parents and my church for giving me the opportunity to visit New Orleans, where as a middle school student I had an opportunity to participate on the front line of relief efforts to help Hurricane Katrina's victims. 

    On a second trip to New Orleans, I visited a childcare center in the city's well-known 9th Ward.  It was an equally memorable experience.  I met children, ages 3-15, with bullet wounds in their heads, necks, chest and arms.  Through fellowship and leisure, I was able to interact with these children and came away feeling the simple act of giving my time to someone in need was somehow making a positive difference and creating an opportunity of hope for a better tomorrow. 

    Years later, I had no idea that I, too, would be a beneficiary of the gift of giving.  Because of a generous acts of giving, I am grateful to be a recipient of the Tom Joyner Foundation's Hercules Scholarship.  It, along with many other awards and scholarships, have afforded me the opportunity to be a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

    Worries about how to pay for college can be overwhelming.  The financial support I've been fortunate to receive has enabled me to focus on maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.  I had no way of knowing my years of giving would come right back to me. 

    I am truly blessed and greatly appreciative of the many blessings and acts of kindness I have received.  I someday hope to operate my own childcare center like the one I visited in New Orleans. 

    If my experience resonates with you, I encourage you to give.  It may just come back to you in more ways than you can ever expect.


    Joshua Dacres is a senior English major and dean's list student from New York, N.Y.