I come from poverty. I lived through famine. My body would shut down and I’d faint in the middle of the road from malnourishment. I was never maltreated or abused, but we simply did not have food on the table. Sometimes, I’d wake up in the field and would continue my walk home from school after a fainting episode. Other times, I’d wake up in a friend’s house because their parent recognized me.
While I would never wish any child to go through this, I will always look back at my own childhood with gratitude. What I’ve learned is that scarcity inspires creativity and hardship builds character.
I intentionally create an environment of scarcity for my boys by providing them with limited toys. Khai’s imagination entertains him with countless hours of pretend play. The same set of Legos can create a gazillion vehicles and animals. Paper. Crayons. Scissors. Play-Doh. These tools can create infinite toys. TV is never allowed. (We don’t own one.) Restricted screen time is permitted on weekends. Books – both physical and audio formats – are constant treasures.
I recognize the privileged position I’m currently in. I worked hard for it. My boys were born into it, and I sincerely hope they will never take it for granted. I hope I can create opportunities for them to learn from scarcity without needing to go through fainting episodes. I hope that they will learn, by example, that once you have earned this privilege, you can help others do the same. I hope we will always be able to give back to our community.
This year (and every year hereafter), I am so proud and excited to announce that Nhi Thai Photography LLC will be sponsoring a college scholarship for a junior who inspires joy in others. To apply, you must be a female junior attending high school in Centre County and have a GPA of 3.8 or above.
Applicants must answer an essay prompt (~500 words), which changes each year. For 2021, the theme is cultivate joy: What is a moment of joy for you? How can you cultivate this joy in your everyday life? How will you spread joy to others?
To apply, please fill out the form and attach your essay at nhithaiphotography.com/scholarship
PS: The scholarship recipient will also receive a complimentary portrait session for which she can submit as her yearbook photo.
PPS: Please spread the words and let a student you love know about this scholarship. Thank you!