There’s something to be said when you come across a community that gives without seeking a reward or lending guidance without thinking of it to be virtuous. In 2006, a good friend of mine had just finished up his first year as a prophet with the Service Board and had told me that I should consider joining the program. At the time, I was going through what I still consider to this day, the roughest patch of my life. the Service Board however, was my saving grace.

I shortly joined the great ranks of dreamers, misfits, poets and artistic driven individuals as a prophet and returned the following year as a peer leader. During my time with tSB, I’d gained a newfound understanding and learned the importance of being a member of my community. To be amongst a group of strangers who welcome you when you’re at your most vulnerable state; stripped of all imprecision, and still be seen for who you are, was simply priceless. 

My mentors and peers at the time had requited my emotional trauma with their kindness and helped awakened a greater sense of my own capabilities. They taught me that by limiting the views of myself in a “set” narrative, I was in turn resisting the course of my life. I began to see myself in a new light as I developed a more balanced relationship with the world around me. To put it more eloquently, tSB was a pivotal part in broadening my horizon and had given me the necessary tools to materialize ideas and thoughts in mind to become reality.

I spent my mid-twenties teaching abroad as an English teacher, finding passion and meaning behind my actions as well as passing knowledge down to my students, as my mentors did for me. I became more self-driven and kept that momentum going by constantly striving for greater goals. It had donned on me while on my travels just how binding of an impact tSB had left on me – how the lessons I learned of openness, compassion, mentorship, and fighting for social justice had become second nature. 

Upon my return to the states in 2018, I pursued woodworking and spent the next two years studying and honing my skills as a carpenter. I graduated in March of 2020 and got an offer with Metis Construction a few months after. Coming into this trade, I held myself accountable of the degree in which I would use my craft for. That in order to feel completely fulfilled, there had to be an aspect of community involved. Aside from the typical construction jobs, I have also recently partnered up with Sawhorse Revolution; a nonprofit that aims to teach teens carpentry and an organization with an impressive track record for serving the community. 

With everything said, the road to self-discovery is a long one, and perhaps never ending. But there is of sweetest merit that should never be underestimated when coming across the right thing during the wrong time. the Service Board was undoubtedly one of the most impactful organizations that deliberately empowered and enriched my livelihood as a youth.