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 cooked sausage and bacon for a dinner at the Veterans Village. I made sure I got the good stuff too, I bought thick cut Applewood bacon and Jimmy Dean sausage links AND patties. I made that because for me breakfast meat is a delicious comfort food. If I were going to cook for veterans who appreciate and look forward to a home cooked meal, I should make something they would truly enjoy, and who doesn’t like bacon?
The impact it had on me and my educational path was that it showed me how much one person can appreciate home cooked food from a total stranger, and how a stranger is willing to open up to you about their life just for showing up to help them and asking for nothing in return. It also showed me how privileged I am to be where I am as a student and to take advantage of the path I take to my future. Within the first couple moments of being at the Veterans Village, an older man with the white corn rows (I think you referred to him as Snoop Dog? Lol) started talking to me. Before we could even exchange name, he thanked me. He thanked me just for being there and participating. Even though it was for a grade I couldn’t help but feel warm inside as he thanked me just for being at the Veterans Village and helping out at one of the dinners. I was so taken off guard by how honest, open, and straight forward he was about himself, his life choices and what I planned to do with my future. As a teenager and a college student I’ve been so used to people building an emotional wall that it can take forever to break through to get close to someone. He instantly got to the point with me. It was clear that from his own personal experiences that he didn’t have time to play small talk, he told me his story of being in Korea and how he talks to his nephew and how proud he is of him in school. He made me realize that I’m doing much more than getting a degree for myself by going to school, I am doing it for the people around me. The people who care about me the most want to watch me succeed as much, if not more than I do.
I think that this also impacted the men and women at the Veterans Village as well. I believe that when a group of 18 to 20-something year old college students come every week with home cooked food, it gives them hope that a younger generation of people will be more compassionate and giving than they could have imagined, making them happy to see young faces every week that are nice and have their whole life ahead of them. From what I saw, it really could brighten some of their days.
Hopefully the students that were also serving with me felt the same as me or similar. Most of the students I volunteered with weren’t in my class, so it seemed a little difficult to break the ice right of the bat when none of us knew each other. In the long run, I hope the students with me felt as good about is as I did, that they all felt the gratitude from everyone at the Veterans Village.
Overall, my lesson from doing this service project was that I should appreciate every little thing I’ve been given in life. And to give those little things back to others, can really make a difference. It also showed me that giving back to others doesn’t take much from you. All it takes is one afternoon out of your day just to make an effort to volunteer and makes dozens of people smile.