Monday, December 21, 2015

Service Project: Everyone deserves to be treated with care and respect, and I hope the man who receives this feels an abundance of both.

 (Student Essay Fall 2015)
            I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
For my service project, I provided Christmas gifts for a veteran. In the beginning, I had decided to volunteer at Florida Wild Mammal Association. But I have volunteered there before and you advised us to pick something new, something that we wouldn’t have normally done. I wasn’t sure what exactly to do, and decided to provide the gifts for the veteran as you suggested.
            My grandpa was a veteran, as well as both of his parents and countless other family members. I feel as if he would be proud of me for doing this. Veterans now don’t get nearly as many benefits and such that he did. My grandpa served in the Air Force, but was stationed in North Dakota and never actually fought in a war zone. Albeit this, the VA payed for almost all of his medical bills last year when he was being treated with cancer, and still pays my grandma for being his widow. Now though, the men and women who fought for our freedom come home from thousands of miles away overseas, and end up homeless because they don’t have any money and have a hard time transitioning back into normal life.
            I know that a good number of people in homeless shelters and transitional homes have a strained relationship with their family. And it breaks my heart to imagine anyone spending their Christmas alone. I cannot be there to celebrate Christmas with them, but I feel as if I’m helping at least a little by providing some gifts. Everyone needs love, and I hope that the man who gets my gift realizes that someone cares for him.
            I purchased a navy blue full sized sheet set, a standard white pillow, gray pant and long leave shirt long-johns, a pack of black socks, a black beanie, and a pair of thick gray gloves. I used the list you sent out of advised options, and tried to find very warm things. Underwear was on the list, but I felt strange buying a grown man underwear so I got the long-johns, which should actually be quite useful on freezing days. I hope this really benefits the man who gets it and keeps him warm throughout the winter, and hopefully lasts him for many winters to come.
            This opened my eyes a little. At first I was kind of mad when I realized how much money this was going to cost me personally. I was wondering why I was spending all this money on a man I don’t even know. Then I kept thinking about how beneficial it could be to his life, and how he might not have the money himself to buy it, or how he might not have family to buy it for him. So I stopped internally complaining and just focused on finding the clothing. At one point I found myself debating on whether to buy the long sleeve shirt long-john too or just the pants, and had to stop and remind myself how useful it would be and necessary to keep a person warm. Doing this helped remind me how I should be helping people and spreading love as much as possible as far as I can.
            All in all, I am glad I did this. Although it cost me some personal money, I feel as if I really helped someone and hope that whoever gets my gifts uses them to their full advantage and gets plenty of use out of them. Everyone deserves to be treated with care and respect, and I hope the man who receives this feels an abundance of both.