“I have only just a minute,

Only sixty seconds in it.

Forced upon me, can’t refuse it.

Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.

But it’s up to me

to use it.

I must suffer if I lose it.

Give account if I abuse it.

Just a tiny little minute,

but eternity is in it.”


          – I have only just a minute by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays 


It was a beautiful Wednesday afternoon when I found myself, per usual, walking to Coach Rod’s classroom, the place where we meet before basketball workouts. As I was making my way down the breezeway, I received a text from the Enloe Basketball group chat that read “no workouts today”- Coach Poobie. “Well, what should I do?” I thought to myself. Now that I wasn’t going to be able to play basketball, my mind shifted to the one thing I love just as much: Charity Ball. Charity Ball is one of those things that you only come across once in a lifetime. Knowing that it was Wednesday, I immediately signed up to go volunteer at Southeast Raleigh Elementary School, which is part of the “beacon site” Charity Ball’s 2019 beneficiary, Southeast Raleigh Promise, helped to establish. 

After being dropped off at the elementary school, I made my way to the cafeteria and waited excitedly for the kids to arrive. As soon as the clock hit 3:15, kids of all sizes flooded into the cafe for their afternoon snack. On this day, I found myself sitting near the fifth graders. One of them walked up to me and said, “Harry Potter, how’s it going? I haven’t seen you since you killed Voldemort.” Following their snack time, we ventured into the tutoring rooms where I put my stuff down and began to talk with the supervising teacher when I heard “ Harry Potter!!!! Can you help me with my math homework?” Knowing exactly who it was, I walked over to his table and pulled up a chair to help him. After about 3 minutes of homework, the conversation shifted from “So, after you carry the three, what do I do?” to “How are Ron and Hermoine doing?” After playing the part for a bit, the conversation shifted again to questions about school. I asked if they liked doing math homework or math problems and the response wasn’t as energetic as the prior. The response was “I really don’t like homework at all”. “Why?, Is it because it’s boring?” I asked. “No it’s because there’s never anyone to help me with it because my Mom is always working and sometimes the power is out so I can’t even see… but because it’s important, I try to get to school early to do it and get help from my teacher.” It was at this point when I had an epiphany- Charity Ball is a magical entity. Not only does it manifest the ideas of service, gratitude, and the empowerment of student leaders, it also allows the magic of the world to help those suffering, inspire others, and uplift us as a collective society. 

No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you have, everybody has the same minute, and the same discretion as to how they spend it. You can not control the situation that you are born into; however, there is one thing I know you can control: how you spend your minute. We all come from different backgrounds, but by utilizing our minute to the fullest, the evils of the world will cease and we will prosper in a state of symbiosis. Not everyone’s minute will be the same. However, finding purpose and using that purpose to extract everything from that one minute until the clock hits 0:00 will help to move mountains. This is what Charity Ball is all about for me. It’s not about the materialistic things, or the dollar amount on the check. It is about us as a community, using our individual minutes to inspire, serve, uplift, and live meaningful lives while allowing the magic of Charity Ball to do its thing. 

For the 54% of kids living at or below the poverty line within the Rock Quarry Corridor, what takes most one minute to do simplistic, every-day things, often takes them several minutes as a result of the effects of inter-generational poverty. The good news is that this problem is fixable. If we, as a community, take full advantage of our minute, and support SERP and its efforts, we will take a giant step towards the eradication of inter-generational poverty. Having witnessed what  SERP has to offer with its amazing staff and directors and good-hearted intentions, I can assure you that the sun has risen on the day that we will end inter-generational poverty and uplift this beautiful community and its amazing citizens. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be”- Harry Potter.

For the next 55,673 minutes or so until Charity Ball, I can promise you that I will dedicate every second, millisecond, and nanosecond of my time to Charity Ball to help insure that everyone’s minute is maximized to the fullest and free of unfair and unjust obstacles.

That is my purpose. 

Dakota Gordon
Standing Committee Officer


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