Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Make a Little Difference (L*P)

Many of us have had a certain connection with a soldier whether it was a family member, friend, or acquaintance. I have never met or have known of one until my enrollment in AMH 1041 with Dr.Soldani.

On January 28, 2010 Dr.Soldani gave us an opportunity to do a service project that involved buying soldiers some very useful and practical items. This was a project I had never heard of but it really felt good to be able to be doing for someone that was doing way more for me, my country, and saving the peace for future Americans.

It was important to buy the soldiers necessary items that they would value. We had the choice of sending two boxes, one in the beginning and the other at end of the semester. We also had to write them a letter and mail it within the box showing them our gratitude and support.

This project was not only going to benefit and perhaps alleviate a group of soldiers’ lives for a while but it thankfully affected mine too.

First of all, we had to pick between sending to a hospital or Camp Alamo, which was where some of the soldiers were stationed. We then had to buy useful and necessary items we thought the soldiers would not only enjoy but also appreciate.

In my First box I decided to send the soldiers razors, Caramel cookies, cards, anti bacterial gel, deodorant, gum, bars or Irish Spring soap, socks and some mixed candies. I knew that they would appreciate more the bars of soap, socks, deodorant, and anti bacterial gel but they would definitely enjoy the rest. To me it really didn’t matter how much I was spending because it really couldn’t compare to what they were doing for me. I tried to accommodate all of the repeated items so that I could fit everything nicely that way they could enjoy more things.

In the second box, I got similar things but added boxes of Cracker Jacks and some packs of Twinkies. Both of my boxes were filled to the top but all I hoped for was that the soldiers would benefit from them emotionally and that their cravings for common snacks and comfort would be met.

The next part of our service project was adding a letter of gratefulness, a story of a vet in our family or that of one of one in our classes. I chose to write a letter thanking them for what they do each day not only because I have never met a soldier but I felt that they would be better honored if I expressed my immediate gratitude.

In my letter I mentioned not knowing a soldier but I felt that I had immense gratefulness just for the servitude they were doing for me. I also included that they by far were the most courageous people I have ever hope to personally meet and to let them know that not everyone could do what they were doing. Also I explained to them my experience on 9/11, how I was in religion class learning about always keeping faith.

The irony for me was that on that day I felt America had lost a great deal of faith. I mentioned I had never met any active duty soldier for our Country but after that tragedy I prayed for them all each day to keep them safe and to be returned to their families. How the national anthem means more now than before and it has to also do with these young soldiers whose ages are like mine.

Lastly, I had the privilege of getting a letter back from one of the soldiers whom I never really expected and had a big surprise when I opened my mail. His name is Noah and he is originally from California. He thanked me, for taking my time and spending my money to share with strangers I had never met. He also talked about how he hoped to one day visit Florida. I was glad that he not only liked what he received but that he too took time to let me know.

I will always keep that letter and in the future send him more items he can enjoy.

Lastly, the project assigned by Dr.Soldani not only changed many soldiers’ lives but also those of us that chose to participate in this great and very rewarding activity.

This is the first project that not only I take pleasure in doing but I also feel like I actually made a difference in someone’s life.

I hope other teachers learn from Dr. Soldani’s thoughtful service assignment and do it as well because it truly is satisfying to give to those that are giving of their lives. I hope that everyone that also did this project feels a great sense of pride and feels that they too made a little difference in a soldier’s hectic life.