My Grandpa Showed Me the Power of Small-Scale Civic Action

As refugees in Lebanon struggle to find work and housing, my grandfather pitches in where he can to make their lives better

4 mins read

What would the world be like if there were no civic heroes? I guess problems and injustices in societies would never change. In Navajo Nation, people would have stayed without food or clean water if Ethel Branch did not step in. In the United States, we would still have racism. Black people would still have to give up their seats in buses, have separate schools, and have job discrimination if it wasn’t for heroes like Rosa Park and Martin Luther King. In India, Indians would still be under the British rule if Mahatma Gandhi did not start his peaceful movement. In Lebanon, refugees will not have someone to support them or help them if it wasn’t for my grandpa.

Civic heroes are people who notice problems in their communities and change it to make it better. I believe my grandpa is a civic hero. He lives in Lebanon. Currently, there are many Syrian refugees where he lives. It is very hard for them to find work and they have to pay expensive rent. My grandpa is helping them as much as he can. I have seen him wear 3 pajamas on top of each other, a hat, and a jacket indoors to stay warm in the freezing winter. He does this so he doesn’t have to use the diesel fuel he has for heat. He would instead give it to families who have young kids or old people so they could stay warm. He supports many families and gives them cash every month so they can spend it on things they need most. No one knew about this until recently when he had an open-heart surgery. He told my uncle about these families so he can continue taking care of them if he did not make it.

In Lebanon, there is tension between two religious groups. They always argue and sometimes fight over their differences. So, grandpa always makes meetings to make them respect their differences and be in peace. He has written many books about religion that he gives to people for free because he wants to make a change in the society. His plan is working well so far as more and more people are being respectful as they talk to each other. I love my grandpa so much. Every time we visit him, he spends time with me and my cousins, plays with us, makes us noodles, and teaches us about planets and space. My grandpa speaks seven languages, he has a PhD in physics, and traveled to so many places around the world.

I want to be like my grandpa when I grow up. I want to help my community but in a different way. I want to organize events and activities for poor kids. I want them to have fun because their parents don’t have extra money to enroll them in activities. Also, I want to have classes for the adults and elderly to teach them how to farm, cook healthy food, and to sew clothes. I want them to learn how to do things on their own and be independent. I do not want them to wait for people to help them. I want them to believe in themselves and that they can do whatever they want.

I believe there are many civic heroes around the world that we do not know about. Not many people know about my grandpa.

Heroes do not need to be recognized, they only care about helping others and making the world a better place to live.

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