Dominique lives the belief that a community should create a cycle of charitable work and gestures of kindness*

Student Service Project Reports Summer 2016

On July 9, 2016 I volunteered at A.L.A.R.M international church here in Tallahassee, Florida on 2532 W Tharpe Street. My fiancé Taylor attends this church so she’s familiar with the different events that are coming up. Behind the church is a playground that hasn’t been frequently used or remodeled in years. The remodeling of the playground was for the church’s summer camp this summer. The playground had excessive weeds, branches over the fences, rusted swings, and a need of a paint job. Immediately upon arrival, I grabbed a shovel and started to dig up weeds that was sticking up from the shredded rubber surfacing. The humidity in the morning made the process a little more tiring but I remembered the statement “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, for helping yourself, the other for helping others. Audrey Hepburn”. So I continued digging up weeds, then I was called for assistance to help clear the weeds and debris from the surrounding fence. 

The tough portion of clearing the fence process was avoiding thorns from the plants that was entangled in the fences. I noticed a weed eater that no one was using so I decided to use it on the fence. This wasn’t too effective on the plants entwined with the fence because the fuse on the weed eater will shorten among impact with the metal fence. So that required more manual work. I stopped weed eating once more volunteers arrived. Then I noticed a few others attempting to cut down tree branches. I am 74 inches tall which automatically qualifies me for cutting
excessive branches that hung over the fence to the playground. So I decided to pick up the tree branch cutter and violently cut the branches. I say violently because I was growing frustrated with stubborn branches that didn’t want to come loose.

 I felt appreciated once an older deacon complimented me on my work ethic. He said there’s a lot of young men who don’t know how to work now a days. I agreed and told him I appreciated that. Cutting the tree branches was a rigorous task since the trees have been entwined with one another and the central pin point of the branches were unclear. Once I finished I looked over my shoulder watching my fiancé become sluggish from the beating sun. She was painting a nearby building next to the playground standing on a metal ladder.

I decided to bring her a water bottle from the orange cooler with ice, told her to take a break and started to paint the rest of the building. The paint had a brownish-orange look to it, reminded me of my mom’s kitchen. After I finished painting I noticed that some of the volunteers were parents with kids there playing on the slides. The look on the children’s faces made me feel proud of myself and proud of what I was doing. I remembered how eager I was to play on the playground when I was in elementary. I’ve managed to hold on to majority of my childhood memories and feelings I had as a kid. So I understand the joy they had to play on a cleaner, and more attractive playground. Every day I learn that life is more than just about what you do for yourself, but what you do for others. For example, I’ve bought myself plenty of clothes, shoes, and electronics, but those things will eventually diminish. When you give to others and help others who actually are in need they’ll never forget it. Giving back to the community creates a permanent mark in someone’s life and I think everyone should be proud to make a contribution to their community. I enjoy giving and donating because I’ve had people in my life that are still a part of my life because they gave or invested in my goals and ideas. 

I
believe that a community should create a cycle of charitable work and gestures of kindness. Doing good deeds is a cycle, someone helps you with your goals, and in return you help others with their goals. Volunteering builds character in my opinion. It gives people an opportunity to make a difference in others, learn team work, and to gain interpersonal skills. We’re living in a generation of people that spend more time on devices than actual people. My hope one day is for people to volunteer and have a genuine concern about one another. I’ve gained a lot of joy from volunteering and I hope everyone else does too.