Seventh-grade winner, 2014 statewide Pro-life Essay Contest

(Now in 8th grade)

St. Vincent de Paul Parish and School, Omaha

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19 percent of the population or nearly one in five people have a disability. These are the facts, these are the statistics and these are people! People who are created by God, people who deserve to be respected and treated with dignity, and people who can teach each and every one of us “to express love in action.”

When I think and reflect on the words, “to express love in action,” I immediately think about the choices I make each and every day. To me, those five simple words, “to express love in action” mean that by the things I do and the choices I make, I can express my love for others no matter who they are or how able they might be. So we should all ask ourselves, how do we treat others? When we walk into the grocery store and an individual with a disability is bagging out groceries, how do we treat them? Do we greet them as we would anyone else? Are we respectful and friendly? When we see an elderly person at church do we shake their hand, make eye contact and give them a smile? When we see someone in a wheelchair do we look at them and say hello? The choices we make each day can and do impact everyone we encounter!

A second thing that comes to mind is getting involved in activities that support people with disabilities. By getting involved and volunteering, we can all learn and gain knowledge about what it may be like to be disabled. We can develop an appreciation for the challenges and struggles that a disabled person must go through each and every day. We can gain an understanding of how they may be different but more importantly how much they are just like us, people who want to be happy and loved!

The last and probably the most powerful thing we should all consider is the power of prayer. We can each pray that God will watch over those who are disabled so that they may lead lives that are happy and fulfilling. We can pray that God will guide us to be including, welcoming and supportive to anyone with a disability. We can pray that God will guide each of us to “express love in action” in all that we do.

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