“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
"Behold the candle, how it gives light. It weeps its life away drop by drop in order to give forth its flame..."
– ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Writings of the Bahá'í Faith

My earliest memories are of my family, which together with my faith have been my greatest source of inspiration. It is thanks to my family and my faith that I have learned the significance of leading a life of sacrifice and service to others. My mother left her native Iran and escaped the terror of religious persecution for us, her four children. She knew that opportunities for members of the Bahá'í Faith living in Iran would be few. College, for instance, is not an option even today. My mother came to America without resources, without a strong ability to speak English, and even without a clear destination and plan. Yet, she came without fear. We were refugees, and at a tender age, I began to understand what it means to struggle. I learned, however, that in America, I would count. Our journey was uncertain; a small Bahá'í community in Idaho volunteered to help us find our way. I was fearful, I spoke no English, but exhilarated as I took my first steps into a school. We struggled vigorously — to find a place for ourselves in a new land, to balance hard work with self-improvement, and to help raise ourselves out of poverty. As I grew, I watched my siblings juggle multiple jobs and full-time schoolwork to ensure our survival. They taught me about discipline, sacrifice, and gratitude. Indeed, my family and my faith shaped who I am, and how I will spend my life — to become the candle, to continue the struggle against poverty throughout the world by giving of myself, by embarking on a lifelong commitment to international social equity, economic development, and justice for the poor and vulnerable.

— Rosita Najmi