My name is Paul Thomas Jr., and I have been a Books 4 Buddies ambassador for what has now been four years. I’m an admitted and incoming freshman at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and intend on pursuing a Business dual major with a focus in Accounting and Data Analytics.
Throughout my tenure as an ambassador, I was presented with many opportunities unlike anything I’d previously encountered. I’ve been to parts of my hometown I had never stepped foot in, spoke to politicians, authors, and other extraordinary people, represented the program in the local media and have participated in a plethora of community outreach events in which I was able to engage with people previously unknown to me.
I often reflect on how much the program has done, how valuable our work is, and how we’ve contributed to the betterment of a community that has given so much to all of us. I consider all the numbers I’ve been presented, the description of the program and the content of our mission. Yet, my mind always returns to each time I put my orange tee away. How at the end of the day I stop and remember each face I saw, each face that saw me in that t-shirt. I think of all the smiles, the laughter, the joyful tears, and all the minds I opened to a vast wealth of knowledge previously unbeknownst to them, just by giving them something I had been fortunate enough to be surrounded by my entire life.
This program truly enlightened me to the variance of perspectives in the world and in our community, and strengthened my belief in many concepts I now hold dear to my character and embody to the best of my ability each day. Books 4 Buddies opened my eyes to the value of education, the power of literacy, the indelibility of charitable acts, and the fortitude of brotherhood. My work and the work of my fellow ambassadors, the MENtors, and everyone else involved with the program has opened doors to so many young people in our community, and has taught me so many ineradicable lessons that will further my academic and professional careers and my life as a global citizen.
Paul D. Thomas Jr.