I’m not writing a “caring” essay. That subject is too sensitive and I have my macho image to protect. Besides, who actually cares anymore? Selfies trump selflessness, there is no passion to be compassionate, and excitement about generosity happens only on the receiving end. I personally foster dogs, but who would want to read an entire essay about that? That is how I felt when this topic was presented and I had no plans to write an essay. However, when I arrived home from school that day, I noticed the lone blue rose in our living room; now dry but with petals intact. What that rose represented made me rethink writing this essay and is the reason I feel proud to share what caring means to me.

Caring is what my parents and I witnessed. A woman was running down the street in hysterics. We followed her gaze and saw a toddler running toward a very busy intersection. We anticipated the worst as the child stepped off the sidewalk. However, out of nowhere, a man running at Olympic speed dashed into the busy street and intercepted the child. They landed curbside slightly bruised, but alive. The outcome could have been very different if not for his kindness.

Caring is how I would describe the Westchester Secondary Charter community. I could cite many examples of teachers and staff going above and beyond to teach us academic and life lessons, but I will elaborate on one. In 7th grade, I was on the basketball team, but had severe anxiety and would “lose my lunch” before every game. It wasn’t pretty. Coach Ramirez was patient with me. He assured me that one game would not make or break me, and encouraged me to play when I felt I couldn’t. He was instrumental in helping build the confidence to release my inner Michael Jordan on the court today.

Caring is fighting a losing battle for someone you love. I watched my mom do this as the sole caregiver for my grandmother with Alzheimer’s. My mom quit her job and for years she spent every day and night caring for my grandmother. Alzheimer’s has no cure but my mom wouldn’t accept that. She read books, tried alternative medicines and kept faith that my grandmother could defeat the condition. As my grandmother’s condition worsened, our house began to fill with medical equipment I had only seen in hospitals. Often my mom was left to figure it out on her own, but she never lost hope or strength. Sadly, my grandmother passed on a few months ago. Her favorite color was blue and my mom ensured that there were lots of blue roses at her memorial service. I will never forget the unconditional love showed by my mom.

I will continue my work fostering dogs and also use these unselfish acts of caring as a guide as for my development. Like the young man that saved the toddler, I want the courage to act with compassion and without reservation. Like my coach, I want to go into a profession that I love and be kind and gentle to the people I serve. Lastly, like my mom, I want to give my everything to the people I love. This is what caring means to me.