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   WZM Award for Compassion 


WZM Award





WZM Award presented to Adriana Bank on May 22, 2018 - Pasadena High School








WZM Award for Compassion:
The Little Red Shoe

My mother taught me the meaning of compassion. Every bit of her is the embodiment of generosity, love, selflessness and sacrifice. When I was young, my mom told me about her struggles. She told me stories of going to the Mexican military at 16 with the goal to get away from her father, to grow stronger, to go back and help her sisters, and to one day bring them to America in the hopes of securing a better life. She achieved each of those aims and all three of them now have happy children, leading peaceful lives. If it weren’t for my mother, they would still be entrapped in a state of desperation. That story, despite my young age, began the formation of my desire to help, to do something great with my life like my mom had.

Although that story was undoubtedly inspiring to me, it was another simpler story that truly molded me in the individual that I am today and solidified this growing sentiment. It was a simple memory of her childhood. She and her sisters found a single red Barbie shoe on their village’s dirt road, and played with it for hours on end. I remember thinking that I had plenty of Barbie dolls. Whole ones. I was ashamed. I could not wrap my mind around the idea that there were children out there, living with nothing while we lived privileged lives, even if we didn’t realize it.

These stories my mother told instilled in me the goal to spread kindness throughout my life. To give back for all I have been blessed to receive. I swore to myself that from that day forward, every action I took, every word I spoke, every aspiration I had, was going to in some way be towards the aim of spreading compassion. I still live by this goal. Every word that escapes by lips is carefully selected and considered so as to not incite even a morsel of insensitivity. Every day, no matter how stressed I may be in the moment with upcoming tests, homework, college and fear of the future, I put feelings of others ahead of my own. I take so much pleasure in doing small things for people. If I can make someone smile to laugh at least once a day, If I can life a friend up who is feeling down, if I can take one chore off my mother’s shoulders, or cause my parents to smile with pride, I have done my job.

I know that I am young and that my work with small charity groups such as National Honors Society and Lions International amount to almost nothing on the global scale, but I am currently shaping my future to encompass a much broader and more effective goal. The career path I have chosen, a major in biology toward a pre-med path at UCLA, is a step in achieving the goal of assisting others in a larger scale. I hope to one day have the chance to become a doctor and to travel abroad, providing medical services to those who cannot afford them. I will combine my passion for life science, biology, the human body, and for making others’ lives happier together into a harmonious tool to make a difference. College is a small step towards securing my education to accomplish this goal. It signifies my opportunity to collect the knowledge and skills I will need to live up to my goal, to make my mother proud, and to make the world a more peaceful place.



Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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