Sophomore Helps Others (To Help Self)

by Thien Dinh ‘26

When sophomore Joel Green was young, like many other kids, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. However, that all changed when he was on his way to middle school and noticed a man with dirty shoes and disheveled hair. Green was compelled to assist him with whatever he could, giving him the only thing he knew would help: a harmonica he had won in an Ocean City arcade three years back.

“Here, have this mister,” Green told the stranger. “It’ll support all of your future endeavors. You’ll be able to apply for a job with a more positive attitude.” Green walked away grinning ear to ear, and this set him on the path to becoming a true humanitarian.
Today, Green is a self-proclaimed advocate for the unhoused. “Did you know that on average, 5 percent of the unhoused can’t sleep through the night because it is cold outside? I feel terrible that as an ordinary human being, I sleep in a warm and comfortable environment. I strive to counteract my privileged life by giving to the unhoused,” he said.

Green is very fond of talking about himself, especially about his compassion for others. So he continued: “In fact, I’ve done many things to achieve a positive impact on the world. One, in effect, is using the new term ‘unhoused’ which I have already accomplished. It was a difficult change, but necessary nonetheless. Using the term ‘unhoused’ to refer to the unhoused will reduce the already increasing stigma of ‘homeless’ people since the ‘less’ in homeless is already very degrading to an unhoused person. The second is joining several clubs. When applying to college, admission officers ONLY look at everything non-school related, right? Therefore, the clubs that have humanitarian work, which is about helping others and not about what’s helpful to me, will make me desirable enough to get into any college.”

Right now, Green has plans to establish an environment for learning and providing for those who are unhoused. In effect, his charitable work and soon-to-be unhoused re-educational shelter will solve nationwide poverty.

Unfortunately, in today’s crazy world, there are always obstacles that get in Green’s way. “The government, kind of weird don’t you think?,” He wondered aloud. “When starting construction of my unhoused re-educational center, these dang government agents tore the whole thing down! Mind you, the government also has many programs that help people, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. I don’t understand why I am scrutinized, but charities that are similar to mine aren’t. Again, this is weird.”

Days after the event, Green didn’t do all that much. He was seen by many to be talking with employers at McDonalds, Giant, and even Denny’s of all places. “He wants to go to college, wanted to be successful in life,” Green’s mother said. “But now Joel is having to think about alternatives. He’s having doubts about whether he wants to help people after all.” Green’s life, dictated by charity, seemed to have fallen into the pit of despair. Can Joel Green ever escape? Or will he continue his monotony and stay a lost, lonely individual?