“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
I thoroughly enjoyed the service project I decided to sign up for this semester and I do in fact believe that I gained a positive learning experience from it. While yes, that sounds extremely generic and broad for this type of paper but it covers the broad scope of what I will elaborate on in this paper. To start, we obviously had to do the service projects as a requirement in the class or to get extra credit if deemed necessary. However, I was intrigued at the idea of being able to help these people who had sacrificed things in their lives for me, completely unknowingly. Growing up, I was a member of a Girl Scout Troop and we often spent time helping veterans, the homeless, and the elderly. We would deliver baked goods to the little abuelito’s and abuelita’s at “The Palace”, a local nursing home in Kendall (Miami, you know I am a Miami girl!). We would make care packages for homeless people on the streets in Little Havana or at homeless shelters. Also, coincidentally, we made blankets for soldiers at war and also sent them handwritten notes. The whole time I was doing these things, I knew that I was doing something for a greater good and that it would ultimately benefit people in the end. Yet, I wasn’t fully able to grasp and be able to take something away from doing what I was doing for these people. Maybe it was my age and lack of understanding, or just because I had become so used to doing those kinds of things to earn badges, I just continued to do so…to earn more badges. Now that I’m much, much, mucholder I feel a greater sense of gratification and accomplishment for doing things like this, to help someone other than myself.
So, for the service project I signed up for I had to prepare and take a dish to feed enough for thirty people at Veteran’s Village. I chose macaroni and cheese because to be completely honest, I had a great recipe from my Tia that I was really dying to use, call it a “Cuban Macaroni” as one of the veterans did. On the day of, the mac and cheese was prepared and I took them to Veteran’s Village. I didn’t even know that a complex building like that was dedicated to Veteran’s and so close to me, I live about eight minutes away. We all brought our dishes, laid them out and got ready to serve. I was interested to see the kinds of men or women that would come through the doors to get some of the home cooked food that had been prepared. To no surprise, all those that did seemed very grateful for what we were doing and what we had brought for them. I was designated plate giver, a crucial piece of the assembly line that was serving these men their yummy looking food. Every person that was served gave a warm thank you or had some small interaction with us who were serving, they made us laugh and we tried to do the same. It turned out to be a very fun, simple and gratifying experience to say the least.
I did this project not only as a requirement for the class, but to see if I could feel a greater sense of gratification for doing what I was doing with more understanding. It isn’t very often that people my age stop for even a second to think about doing something for someone other than themselves. Especially being a college student, our whole lives revolve around ourschooling, our education, our grades, our social life, if that guy in that one class noticed me on Wednesday or how I can write a paper before the deadline and still be able to go out with my friends. We very seldom go out of our way to do something for another person, especially people like the ones we helped at Veteran’s Village that are so deserving of any kind of help. This experience overall helped me to have my eyes re-opened in a way, and really put things into perspective. It’s not all about me, and that I can truly make a difference in another person’s life, no matter how small it may be. I chose the Maya Angelou quote to open this report because I have a little framed wall art hanging over my closet that says the quote. My friend got it for me because she said that I was able to change her life in a positive way by the way I made her feel, and that stuck to me. I now look at the frame differently, and really think about how I can apply it to my life even more so than I unknowingly did with her.