by MARIAH LIN
When I was younger, my favorite thing to do was watch The Berenstain Bears on PBS Kids. Every day at three o’clock I would spend 30 minutes getting lost in the world of treehouses in Bear Country.
Although I gave up keeping with the bear family long ago, there is one episode that I have always remembered—“The Wishing Star.” In that episode, Sister Bear would make wishes upon the North Star and they would end up coming true.
Maybe it was because I desperately wanted to believe that magic was real, or that wishing on something as small and seemingly inconsequential, as a star would be able to make all my dreams come true. Either way, this started my fascination with stars and the galaxy.
Every day, I would wait anxiously for the moment right after the sun set and night began to settle in. When the weather was right, I spent many hours gazing up at the stars, observing the way they twinkled and memorizing the unique constellations.
For me, stars have always represented endless possibilities and dreams. We all have dreams, and as young people living in today’s complex world, our dreams hold even more power. Being young is truly a luxury because it means being unafraid to dream and realize seemingly impossible ideas. We have the power to aspire, innovate, one day achieve, and empower others to do the same.
In late January, I came across a story on Kiva, an international non-profit that seeks to alleviate global poverty through microlending that caught my attention. It was about a young woman named Dora Leticia who lived in Concepcion, Guatemala. She was seeking an $800 loan to invest in buying seeds, insecticide, and other agricultural supplies to support her family and local community, hoping to break the cycle of poverty.
Her story resonated with my deeply. The powerful thing about Kiva is that each loan in made in an increment of $25, so people from around the world have the ability to come together and support others. For Dora, 29 other individuals and I came to “back her dream.”
A few days ago, I received a message that Dora had repaid my loan. It was a welcome surprise because in that moment, I realized dreams can come true. Knowing that Dora was able to purchase her farm supplies made me incredibly happy. She and I may never meet, but as someone once said, “We look up at the same stars and see such different things,” and I think that’s what makes life beautiful.
At the end of the day, Kiva is about more than money—it is about the human spirit and the ability to overcome. Seeing my repayment on Kiva brought joy. If Dora was able to succeed in her endeavor, I am incredibly hopeful for the future. Now, I am even more sure that Vincent Van Gogh was correct when he said, “You can feel the stars and the infinity of the sky since life, in spite of everything, is like a dream.”