by Isabella Eleogo
2018–2019 National TSA Vice President
“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
TSA members serve others throughout the year by raising money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). Not only is raising money for ACS a great cause, but it is a great way to change one’s perspective on servant leadership; it certainly changed mine.
During the 2015–2016 school year, I served as the Alabama TSA state secretary. The state officer team and I decided to hold a new fundraiser for ACS. At the state conference, each state officer had a bucket, and TSA members were able to donate money (in the bucket of their choice) in exchange for the chance to receive a prize. The state officer with the most donations in their bucket also would be recognized. When the final totals were tallied, my state advisor, Mr. Ben Scheierman, informed me that 75 percent of the money raised—came from my bucket.
At the end of the awards ceremony, my fellow state officers led me to a reserved chair at the front of the stage. I sat and waited anxiously for the surprise that I was going to receive. Before the winners were announced, Mr. Scheierman announced to the delegation that Mr. Paul Allen of Decatur, AL personally donated approximately $500 to my bucket. Seconds later, I received my prize and was guided backstage, where I found Mr. Allen waiting for me. When I asked why he donated so much money to ACS and why he chose me out of the seven state officers, what he told me then is ingrained in my mind:
"I donated almost every dime that I had, because my father recently passed away from cancer. I felt the need to do what I can in saving others who may have a chance that my father did not have. I wanted to honor him in the most memorable way, and what better way to do that than to recognize true servant leadership? I want to thank you for helping me honor my father’s passing. He was and is the bravest man I have ever known.”
Mr. Allen allowed me to realize how blessed and grateful I should be for the life I have. Do not take life for granted, and do what you can for those who are not as fortunate as you are. Instead of waiting on the world to change, be the change that this world needs. Through that moment, I learned true leadership is formed from servanthood. True leaders understand leadership is not about them, but about those served.
I challenge TSA members to become true leaders by serving others through raising money for ACS. Explore your creativity as you think of ways to serve others as leaders.