“Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.” -Richard Bach
A community is more than just a neighborhood. A community is more than just people. A community is more than a bunch of tall buildings and traffic. A community is the heart and soul, the beauty, the life of a city. Community is what brings strangers together, branches the family tree farther than just blood, and cares for the broken and less fortunate.
I have been blessed by the community I have lived in for almost my whole life. Growing up in Tallahassee, I have had the opportunity to watch as my community grew too. One of the ways I can give back to this community is through community service. One organization that I like to serve with is called Project Backyard. Project Backyard’s mission is to show people that you don’t have to go to a different country to make a difference in someone’s life; there are people in your very own back yard that are in need, and who’s life you can affect. As I have served alongside Project Backyard, I have seen what it means to truly come together as a community. Black, white, short, tall, young, old; there are no discriminations when it comes to community. Just as there are no discriminations when it comes to hunger, needing shelter and needing companionship.
Proposal #1 APPROVED!
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.- Audrey Hepburn
I currently live in a community just down the street from Tallahassee Community College called, "Villa Del Lago." When I heard first moved in my family and I were blown away from the cheap rent for a two-story townhouse. But it wasn't until I had settled in when I realized why the price was so cheap; we lived across from a homeless shelter.
The name of the shelter is "Big Bend Homeless Coalition." Everyday when I drive in and out of my community, the sidewalks are filled with huge circles of homeless loitering, sitting on the fence owned by my community, crossing the streets while cars are still driving, and sitting on the sidewalks asking people for money as they walk to school.
I look at their faces as I drive and walk by, some of them are familiar and I recognized them from a previous day, but there are new faces everyday. The other day I saw a child at most two years old, playing on the sidewalk while wearing clothes two times his size. It was a cute sight, but also insightful and eye-opening.
There's a saying that I hear often and think most people can relate too; "You don't live in Tallahassee if you've never been approached by a homeless person." But I know deep in my heart that majority of them mean well and are just victims of the system. They need a social safety net to help keep them from economic suicide and hopefully rise back up.
Since I live in such close proximity, I hope to make use of the shelter, and occasionally donate food and clothing. I have an increasing number of clothing that don't fit me anymore that I have no use for, and the back of my pantry is stuffed with food that I never touch and I'm not sure why I purchased in the first place. But my leftovers aside, I would go out and purchase other items that could deem necessary for the people living in that homeless shelter.
I will admit that I do have some anxiety when it comes to being in such close proximity to people in desperate situations such as they are, mainly because I have no idea how to react to them approaching me asking me for help. Hopefully this will help me get over my unusual fear and learn to respect them more as members of my community.
PROPOSAL #2 APPROVED
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mahatma Gandhi. On my way to school each morning I walk by a forest that has a large homeless population. For my service project I would like to pick up garbage on and around the sidewalk to make it look nicer for anyone who is walking on it or driving near it. I think this will benefit the aesthetic of the area and improve its charm. I figure a lot of people walk on that side walk and a lot of people notice that it's littered with the natural ice cans and empty cigarette packages. These are not biodegradable and will remain there unless someone picks it up. It is also is quite gross and since i'm being forced to a service project in a history class why not do something that will be beneficial to me as well. I think this needs to be done because i've never seen anyone from the city cleaning this area and everyone seems to ignore the no trespassing signs. Why is it important to clean up litter, first because it's a danger for animals to ingest. Second those materials can be reused if recycled. These are two practical reasons to do this project along with the selfish reasons I gave a few sentences earlier. There is no way I can write 450 words about this project without experiencing the service. First because I find it annoying talking about how good of person I am. Second because everyone knows recycling is good and so is picking up garbage. Its pretty black and white it's not rocket science that cleaning makes stuff better. Finally I object to a teacher forcing a project that has nothing to do with the class material. I believe this project is the definition of doing something for the wrong reasons. It reminds me of another quote not from Gandhi, but someone I admire much more his name is greg lippman. He is famous for calling out a colleague for giving 2 million to his alma mater, the minimum amount to get his name on a building. Saying that I will do this project and hope to lose myself in the service of others
PROPOSAL #3: APPROVED
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mahatma Gandhi
High School seniors deciding on their next chapter in life can be one of the most stressful and important decisions that they will ever make. Both parents and students have many different options to choose from. For example, whether they would like to attend traditional college or go straight in to the work force, military, or some form of trade school. Students should be confident and prepared for whatever route they choose to go down. However, for a lot of students including myself, the overwhelming pressure and stress that can come from not knowing exactly what you want to do right after High School can be very frustrating for you and your parents. Not only is the decision difficult to make but once the decision is made, what your next steps in the process should be, especially if it is coming down to the wire.
I happened to be one of those High School seniors who had no idea what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. This is mainly because I had my sights on playing college football but little did I know that I was going to blow out my knee during my senior year costing me valuable exposure to college coaches. My options came down to playing football at a small school in Ohio (no thanks) or attempting a difficult task of walking on to a college team in Florida. Once the spring time of my senior year came around, I still had not decided what I wanted to do. This was a very difficult and stressful time especially considering my best friends were either going to Duke, West Point, or playing on scholarship somewhere. Luckily with the help of my parents and talking to some of my friends I was able to make the best decision for me given my circumstances. Realizing that playing college football at a small school or walking on to another team was not the path that was best for me, I decided to swallow my pride and save money by attending TCC.
Without the help of my parents and friends there is no telling which path I would’ve went down. Fortunately, I am blessed with people who truly care and are educated enough to help me with this process. Many students however do not have the support system that I have which allowed me to make this decision. This is why for my service project I would like to help undecided high school students from my hometown have the support and information they need so that they can choose the right decision for them. I will be picking out a few students from my former High School and assisting them in learning about them, research once I find their interests and sharing my personal experiences so that they can have perspective on traditional college. I struggled during this time and would love to make the decision and transition smoother for students who don’t have the kind of support that I had.
PROPOSAL #4 APPROVED
“Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.” -Richard Bach
There she was, chained up to a tree in her owners front yard like she was some kind of worthless animal. Her food bowl was filled with clumps on mud and her water dish was bone-dry. She was extremely malnourished almost as if a skeleton was wearing a black, tight coat. As soon as we saw this poor puppy my girlfriend and I immediately ran to her. As we grew closer she began to whine a cry so loud I swear a deaf person would have been able to hear her. This beautiful black lab was definitely begging us to rescue her from that hell hole. “How could someone do something so cruel?” We kept asking ourselves. Without a thought we knew what had to be done; we loosened the collar that was choked around her neck and then all three of us ran luckily she followed us home . It did not take me long to give her a name, Hope. This name fit her perfectly because all she needed was someone to give her a little hope to want to be alive. Today, she happily lives at my house and is the healthiest she has ever been and If that even would not occurred I believe she would not have lived much longer.
For my service project, I want to volunteer at the Tallahassee Animal Shelter to help the workers, clean up around the facility, and spend some time with the animals that are there. If I could I would adopt all the animals there, but if I did I would probably need a second house. I want to give some hope to the animals living at the shelter by taking the dogs out for a walk in Tom Brown park, or playing with the cats. Also the people working there do a great service keeping the shelter running and I am sure they could use some help keeping the kennels clean and all of the animals fed.
Proposal #5 Approved
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” _-Mahatma Gandhi
As a freshman in high school, things can feel very intimidating. Luckily, the high school I attended started off the freshman year with a freshmen retreat led by the seniors. Each group went to a volunteer site to start the year with a different perspective. Mine was at a homeless shelter where we went to feed and care for people who needed it most. We gave them hygiene products like soap and shampoo to clean themselves and other things like water. My original thought of homeless people before this incident was that homeless people were maybe too scary to interact with. I realized these people need more love and attention than anyone else. These people with amazing stories and personalities could have easily been me, but for some reason I was put in a different path. It broke my heart to recognize how families can lose everything who had more compassion than some of my own friends. I was so grateful that my high school created this retreat because I obtained an unforgettable experience.
Looking back on this moment, it has given me an idea for my service proposal. Although I do not volunteer at homeless shelters as frequently, I have noticed a very good amount of homeless people wandering around the city of Tallahassee. My idea is to create a survival bag for them. The bag will be made of simple things from the dollar store like granola bars, canned corn, mittens, tooth brush, socks and anything else that could be beneficial to them. The goal is to pre make these survival bags and keep them in my car for when I see a homeless man on the side of the road while driving and asking for money. Instead, I will have a few necessities ready
for them so they won’t be tempted to spend money on alcohol. Realizing how fortunate I am to sleep in a bed under a fleece blanket and have food whenever I desire has caused me to care for those who have nothing and become more appreciative. This service project will guide me to do something about that daily as I keep a decent sized survival bag in my car for those who truly have nothing. This is important because although we may be thinking giving some spare change to someone on the side of the road is making a difference, is it? Sure giving your spare change in your car is generous and will make hopefully take them to a decent meal. In my opinion, knowingly giving them food and other necessities will provide a more euphoric feeling of accomplishment.
PROPOSAL #6: APPROVED
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. - Audrey Hepburn. For my service project, I would like to open a free tutoring center for elementary school children. This center would be run by college kids, attending TCC and FSU. It would be completely student run, with a inviting fun environment. There would be help for all subjects to all types of kids. It would be for four hours after their school got out. Giving enough time for kids with sports practice to attend after their practice is over. These days you can jack up the price for anything, and unfortunately this has been done to academic help. I know there are kids out there that need help and are willing to listen to the people helping them, but don’t have the resources. This place will be for them. I hope this place helps kids that want to help themselves. I truly believe if you’re willing to help yourself, you will get the help you need. Along with help to the kids, I feel this will help the college students doing the tutoring. I know from my own personal experience, whenever I help someone else in any area, I’m encouraged to help myself in the areas I feel is needed. Also, this could help encourage college kids to do better in their own studies. The tutoring center would implement structure and a schedule for both sides of the deal. Studies show that when kids have more on their plate, they’re less likely to slack off. If this isn’t enough for some kids, we could offer service hours. I know they’re scholarships offered for service hours so this would definitely be a little push if students needed it. In my vision, the college students will build a relationship with the kids, being so much more than their tutor. I hope the kids see these older students as guides and people they can look up too. We never know if some of these kids don’t have a Dad, or a brother, or a sister and you end up being that for them. Imagine just by showing up, you could give a little kid so much more than academic help but emotional as well. I know that whenever I help someone else, I always feel happier about myself and my life. I hope people remember this feeling if they’ve ever felt it and want to feel it more often as well. The community tutoring center is an all-around good idea that could help a city in more than one good way!
PROPOSAL #7: Consider contacting Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Leon County Schools to see if they need tutors or mentors? I think there are organizations that exist that could use your help.
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” –Theodore Roosevelt. I believe strongly in the conservation of our planet and its natural resources as well as the necessity of minimalizing our “carbon footprint” as much as possible. In order to cherish and show my respect for the amazing natural wonders surrounding me, my proposed service project this semester is to become more involved in local organizations that dedicate their time to cleaning up many of Tallahassee’s parks as well as other nearby natural attractions/preservations. I don’t want to limit myself by basing my service project around one sole organization, but instead spread my services out to benefit as many environments as possible. Growing up in a beach centered town, I participated in many beach cleanups over the years that taught me at a young age the importance of respecting the earth and the natural wonders it has given us. Upon moving to Tallahassee, a favorite past time of mine is to enjoy hiking at local nature trails and dedicate this time to appreciating the beauty of the earth, yet that can be interrupted by littered forest floors. Although many large parks have hired workers to keep the area spotless, some parks that are smaller in size often get overlooked and can collect a variety of cans and wrappers. A group of my friends and I meet at these nature trails at least once a week and not only get a healthy dose of cardio but gain a feeling of accomplishment with each piece of litter properly disposed of. Keeping these parks clean is crucial for their ability to continue to thrive as a habitat. Leaving unnatural waste in these areas can be extremely harmful to the creatures inhibiting the environment. Because this cause is so close to my heart, I’ve decided to devote more of my own personal time to helping the local parks, participating in beach cleanups and also expand my aid to other areas in need. I plan to use this project not only as a great way to give back to the planet but also join the movement to spread awareness about the harmful effects littering and improper disposing can have on an ecosystem. I appreciate this assignment because it forces us to open our eyes to the need of these public service projects and allows us to put our time into a meaningful and impactful cause. Big changes start out small, powered by passionate people who believe in creating a better tomorrow by making a difference today.
Proposal #8 Approved
A great man once said “The time is always right to do what is right.” That man was Martin Luther King Jr. He stood for change and risked his life so that we can live better today. Change doesn’t always have to be super big, but change can be something really simple. Like help feed the less fortunate or even telling someone to have a nice day. For this service project, I would like to make some change in our community. Every day I ride my bike to TCC because I do not own a car and I go the same way every day and I notice a lot of trash on the sidewalks that will be untouched for days.
My proposal is to set up a group that is willing to spend about three days a month volunteering their time to help pick up trash that surrounds the campus of TCC, like Appelyard drive and Pensecola St. I believe that picking up and keeping our community clean is a great way to give back. Every day I see at least one piece of trash outside and I cannot be the only one who sees it. People might say that picking up trash won’t help the community. But littering is considered pollution and pollution is no Bueno for our health and the health of our environment. By reducing the amount of liter in our community we can make our air cleaner and live healthier. I was thinking that the group would volunteer at least three times a month, during the beginning, middle, and end of each month. And this is a great way to show the community that doing something as little as picking up a piece of paper can be good.
I ultimately choose this because it’s the little things in life that matter, and passing by trash on the way to school every day had me thinking that if I don’t do this who else would? By starting this group, we can clean up and educate those who might not know the harm of not keeping our environment clean. Hopefully by doing this the group will grow and we can get our message of keeping our community clean out! “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”-Mahatma Gandhi.
Proposal #9 Approved
As a child I always wish I had a positive mentor/big brother figure who I can look up to for guidance and support for my dreams growing up. For my service project I would like to turn my wish into reality for teenage boys 13 and up out my neighborhood and lead them to right path before it too late. You probably asking yourself am I suitable for this service project that I’m bringing to you, and yes I certainly am. Born and raised in Fort Myers, FL small nieborhood called “Pine Manor” others and also the police call “Crime Manor”, where I’m looked up to by many kids who younger then me and parent of who watch me grow up and proud of me talk to their kids about me highly. My mother will always tell me I’m a great leader and kids will look up to you so keep on a straight line, but the reason kids look up to me more and I think I can deliver the service because of my past. I was a trouble child whop been in a lot of trouble. Slowly growing and learning the road I was driving down was not the best way of life for me, getting to high school becoming football captain leading the team to undefeated season, becoming a father a beautiful little girl, and running my own music campaign that I manage myself and few other artists with their music carriers. So leading young boys who becoming man to a better path in life as a leader/big brother would be perfect with me having the experience and knowledge.
For my service project I would like to get in teenage boys soon to be men life and be a mentor, leader. Big brother to a few who need better guidance. I just feel like I can help a lot of young man from ending up dead or in jail. Finding positive role model that can relate to situations is hard to come by, and when you do meet someone who been through what you been through or something you can go through really open your eyes.
Proposal #10: Approved!