“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of
others.” (Mahatma Gandhi) Service is a powerful method of finding out who you are as a person. You have the ability to show up and give with compassion, connection and love. In high school I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local nursing home that took care of the elderly. I volunteered in exchange for for community service hours, but what surprised me was how much I loved caring for and being with our elders. Which is why for my service project I would love to volunteer at a nursing home again.
Growing up, my grandmother lived with us in our home because my parents strongly believed in taking care of your loved ones. All throughout high school, I witnessed the daily routine of what its like to live with and take care of someone who is experiencing a stage in their life that is less active, physically limited and without the freedom that I was just beginning to discover. It’s challenging finding the patience to not get annoyed, but in reality I had to imagine what is was like to be in their shoes and see where they were at in life and feel how hard it must be to be in their body. The more I spent my weekends at the nursing home, I more I noticed how lonely some of the residents were. They didn’t have a family surrounding them and yet many of them raised families. I often felt how they might have missed the life they used to live. I watched what an awesome job the nurses and my mom did of showing love and patience and respect. The more I worked at the nursing home, the more I grew as a person. Just being able to hear the stories of the elders helped me remember they were once my age, young and independent. Just the thought of not being able to do the daily things anymore that define you as independent is scary to me. Becoming completely dependent on someone to help you go to the bathroom, tuck you in bed, or even eat is the ultimate gesture of letting go.
What was helpful to me as I volunteered was being able to model the nurse’s example of caretaking and have an experience of giving back to the elderly. For me, it was a great feeling of fulfillment and I would absolutely love to do it again. My volunteer experience had shown me that I can bring joy to other people. Your heart opens up and creates room for compassion and patience. Not every elder gets the kind of choice my grandmother did in having the opportunity to pass away in her family’s home with her son and grandchildren. And yet, knowing that everyone gets old one day and everyone wants the love of friends and family, it is a special honor to be the one who is there for them so they do not give up or feel forgotten. Every time I left the nursing home I came away feeling accomplished and uplifted. Even though it wasn’t a paid job, I enjoyed serving another and the fact that I made someone’s day special.
Proposal #21 APPROVED
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated that, “The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.” I feel that that quote resonates strongly with me. We may wish well on others and hope strongly for good things to take place in the world, but it doesn’t matter much if we don’t actually go out and do things for others ourselves. It is only through taking steps forward that we can get to where we want to go, and make the world how we want it to be. Daydreaming about the final destination isn’t the same as actually going and being there.
For my service project, I want to do what I can to help refugees coming into the country. They have many needs as they come here, often with little more than the clothes on their backs. There are so many countries where people are evacuating from, and there’s a heavy flow of people trying to get somewhere—where ever it may be—that’s safer. Tallahassee is set up to bring in several families every month or two. Some women in my church have been working to set up an organized helping process to do their part with whatever the officials helping the refugees need. There are a lot of steps involved with getting families set up here. Government programs provide for cheap homes for the families for a while, and workers keep contact with many businesses to look for jobs that they can get for those old enough to work. It’s fascinating to hear from the women I know volunteering their time to help. There is so much work to do. Some schools try to provide some special time for refugee children to fast track their English learning, because the vast majority come over to our country not knowing any. One of the women I know has taken large families to doctors before to set up appointments and get papers submitted so they can receive care. This can be a very lengthy process, especially with the language barrier.
I may be able to go help with some of the school volunteering, in helping kids learn English. One of the other women who does this regularly talked with me about how they use flash cards and simple games to begin building a basic vocabulary. They may be more interested in older persons being involved in that way, but I plan on seeing what I can do to help. There’s also a need for various simple household items. Clothing drives are going to get all different sizes for refugees, who come in with so little. This is a way I know I’ll be able to lend a hand. I’ll be looking out for other ways I can lend a hand too.
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for all these people to leave their homes and travel so far to somewhere they’ve never been. The older children in their late teens and early twenties are a blessing to their families, as they usually start picking up English more quickly than their parents and can find work more easily. The women I’ve talked to who volunteer are so happy to help, and the families are so grateful to be helped. I’m eager to ask around and find out what I can do to be a part of making all these families who’ve been through so much welcome and stable in our community.
PROPOSAL #22 APPROVED
We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, and more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that. - Ellen DeGeneres
I believe in life we are all going to go through a series of tragic events and most of us face a difficult time getting through these circumstances. In 2016 I lost two important and very close family members. The first was my older cousin to cancer and the second was my 2-year-old little cousin who drowned in a pool. I’ve also had my own loss this past weekend on January 21,2017 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. With me being only 5 months pregnant he didn’t survive, this broke my heart and I am still struggling on how to function through life daily. My goal is to help victims who have lost loved ones or who have been in tragic events similar to mine. Grieving is never easy and I know some people have nowhere to turn and they are looking for help or people who have been through similar things.
My goal is to reach out and offer help and support to people who have no help. There are organized walks and events I plan to attend this year since I’ve lost my baby. I will be attending the March of dimes in October because they offer help to moms like me and also I was born premature there will be a great relation for me. Another event I will be attending is the Walk to Remember event held at Lake Ella every year for grieving parents who have lost their babies. Events like these are what bring people together if no one was thoughtful enough to organize these things people would feel alone and lost. We are created to help one another and be here for each other sometimes all a person needs is one hug or a smile. If I could help at least one person or show one person that I sincerely care about them and feel their pain that would make my heart melt.
PROPOSAL #23: APPROVED
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” After I read this quote a few times I began to try and make sense of it, taking the literal meaning of it. When we dream we picture a perfect world, once we wake up we realize life requires work. Within that work you then appreciate the little things in life, that’s what creates happiness. You don’t always want to wake up but you can’t live under the sheets forever.
I see this quote as guide for how to take meaningful joy out of life from the work we do, whether it’s family related or literal work some kind of happiness can be drawn. For my service proposal I felt that Going to different local parks on Sunday mourning’s and handing out bottled water to runners would be somewhere to start. Being focused on fitness and nutrition made for an easy place to start thinking of ideas. Promoting others to stay hydrated by handing out waters gives me the chance to share simple option to being slightly healthier. I’ve only been to a couple parks while I’ve been at school in Tallahassee but from those trips have shown that water isn’t the easiest thing to find on some of the trails and if someone forgot theirs, their run doesn’t become any easier. By being out there I know ill make at least one person who didn’t expect get a cold drinks mourning.
Aside from distributing water I plan to be collecting trash and recycling plastic found on the ground. No matter the amount of trash collected or water given out I hope that those who drive or run past me realize the impact of reaching out. The idea to collect trash while I hand out water was inspired by a man who was collecting garbage from the side of the road one Saturday morning. I assumed no one asked him to and that’s what made his actions stick with me.
Proposal #24 Approved
“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 have always been a person that finds enjoyment out of helping others out and have participated in many different types of community service programs since I was in the fifth grade. It all started when I joined the Future Educators of America club in elementary school and I had began raising money to buy school supplies for classrooms and also spending time after school tutoring first, second, and third graders. From there it went to teaching dance classes for free on the weekends at my dance studio back in Miami for girls and boys who could not avoid to participate in our weekly classes and yearly recitals, and while I was learning how to sail during the summer I had the opportunity to bring a child who could not afford sailing lessons everyday to sail with me every Thursday for free. My biggest endeavor though was having the opportunity to travel to Brazil and teaching individuals from all age groups, English. As you can see helping people in the community is something I love to do.
For my service project I wanted to do something I have never done before, I decided on cooking for the Veterans Village. I thought of this because normally when I partake in community service I mostly interact with children and this time around I wanted to help adults. Not only did I want a new group of people to help but also my grandfather was a pilot in World War II and though I never got to meet him I thought it would be a great idea to help fellow veterans who sacrificed their lives for our country and us as citizens to keep us safe.
The veterans deserve so much and by cooking them a nice meal will definitely give them something to smile about. Volunteering for the Veterans Village will also remind me that there are still good people out in the world that are willing to give up everything they ever wanted or ever had to protect myself and everyone I love. Cooking will also be fun to do because I never had to cook for myself till I started college and it has been fun discovering new recipes and trying them out. Along with cooking and putting a smile on the Veteran faces I feel like it will help me become closer to my grandfather by meeting and talking to the Veterans I will be serving. It will help me better understand what my grandfather went through but also connect with others.
I’m so happy you are making us help out in the community and that there are so many different options to choose from. I’m looking forward to serving the Veterans some delicious food and being able to connect with them on a personal level.
Proposal #25 Approved
“True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”- Helen Keller
For my service project, I would like to rewrite, or in other words, mix several songs for my father. My father is a hardworking man and wants to do what is right. My father is currently getting medical treatments in Washing D.C. In the middle of his deployment he had to stop and get treatments for unknown conditions. My father has been in the military for a long time and his service time is coming to a close. I hope that whatever I create can lift his spirit and comfort him emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They still are unaware of what exactly is causing the medical issues he has. They have some ideas, but they are trying to help him with pain and the other symptoms as they continue to try and diagnose him. I know he will miss the work he loves so much, so I want to create a compellation of his journey and emotions through music. The song remix will not only apply and help him but also to any serviceman or person who is moving onto a different part of their life. I cannot say whether it will be happy or sad, but I can say it will display the emotion of the time and experience. My father is a man who never wanted to show his emotions, but I think this project will help him soften his heart to enable him to more fully face his own emotions and share them with his family and those he cares about. Music means a lot to me. It is my outlet. I want to use this love of music to help show him what he means to me, and how I respect and honor what he has done for our family and country. Some of the songs I may use are “My hero is you” by Hayden Panettiere, “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera, and “Everybody Hurts” by David Archuleta. I am sure I will look for others and maybe create several different versions and see which I like best for how things go. I believe that in the family is where we do the greatest service. Even if the song only benefits my father and our family, it will help us help others more, enabling a chain reaction of love and hope. Words are one thing, music is another. Music takes people places words cannot sometimes. I hope to show the deep emotional, spiritual and mental comfort I want to give, but simply cannot because I am with them as he is receiving the treatments. Hopefully the music can help us all forget about the miles between us.
Proposal #26: Approved
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mahatma Gandhi
I pondered for hours researching all the many opportunities there are for volunteering in Tallahassee. My mind was jumping from thinking “I have so much clothes I don’t wear, why not donate to a homeless shelter?” to “well my job lets us take home all the food at night, how about I feed the homeless?” Then I put more thought into it and I knew these options would be the first to come into people’s minds for this proposal, so I’ve decided to focus on something a little different, animals. Yes feeding and sheltering people is more of a priority than feeding and homing animals but I feel as though the help needed is overlooked, that’s why I’ve decided to volunteer at The Leon County Humane Society. I have a passion for animals and I’ve been in a veterinary assisting course for 4 years so I figured why not put my knowledge to use?
Majority of shelter animals are dogs and cats, I feel as though these poor animals are so dependent on people. They need to be fed, given shots, bathed and have proper care, all things they aren’t necessarily capable of doing on their own. These helpless creatures are so innocent and don’t choose to be abandoned or abused but get brushed off and pushed aside as not important because they aren’t human. Animals still have a beating heart and emotions so the fact that if they have stayed too long in a shelter and are forced to be euthanized is very bothersome to me. Who are we to choose if an animal lives or dies just because it can’t speak? All these animals want is love and attention so I’m going to be the one to give it to them.
My time at the shelter will vary from tasks of feeding, bathing, walking, and just overall care for the animals. I’m even thinking about going as far as being a foster parent, there is limited room in the shelter so my part of being a foster parent and having an animal live with me could potentially save its life. Even though it’s just an animal, it’s still a great impact to save a life whether it’s just a meaningless squirrel or a human. I know having multiple pets coming in and out of my home will be a great deal of work but I know the satisfaction of seeing them get adopted and go to a great home will be worth it all. I expect to gain a lot from this project with hopes that it leads me to being a better and more caring person while helping others.
Proposal #27: Approved!
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet. For my service project I have decided that I want to help others in a way that would mean almost life or death to someone. My service project is helping homeless and lower income people have food to eat. At my church they call it “the Food Pantry.” In the food pantry I would be collecting food for people and once a month we will give out the food to families than need food the most. Anyone with low income or homeless is welcome to receive the food. Anyone who wants to help, we could always use the help in anyway. This task is great for the community. It spreads the work of the Lord in many ways. People who come for the pantry are very thankful for the food we provide. Before the food pantry people wouldn’t have any idea where their next meal is going to come from. Now with this food pantry they don’t have to look anywhere else for their next meal and better yet they can feed their family for a month. This service project is a nice way to give back to the community and also it is a great way to spread Christian spirit. It’s the work of the Lord.
Proposal #28 Approved
“True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” - Helen Keller
We live in a world today where girls are constantly getting made fun of or being belittled if we can’t fit into a size 0 jean--Or we don’t have a flat stomach--Or skinny legs--Or a clear face--Or cute clothes--The expectations women and girls are supposed to live up to now-a-days to be considered part of the “norm” is so out of reach and nearly impossible. Studies show that 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships. Women are required to meet or exceed all of these standards in order to be perceived as “pretty” in today’s society.
Being the social butterfly I am and wanting to get along with everyone—I am surrounded by the idea that ‘I have to be skinny and I can’t have any acne for society to accept me’. With this being said, I have struggled with being comfortable in my own body for years. It takes me at least half an hour to pick out my outfit for school, not to mention this doesn’t even include doing my hair or my makeup. I have to make sure the shirt I wear doesn’t make my arms look fat but makes my boobs look big, and the jeans I wear doesn’t make my butt look saggy or my thighs too big.
It was recently brought to my attention that at TCC there is a service learning course that focuses on violence against women. This topic focuses on women that have been physically, emotionally, or mentally abused. But, it goes into so much more depth than that; it talks about body image, eating disorders, rape, etc... It is important to me to spread the word and help women that are struggling to be comfortable in their own skin speak out and realize that the way we look doesn’t define who we are. Not only that, but I want to help women who are being abused and don’t know their true worth to speak out and seek help, because we are worth so much more than the number on the scale, or the bruises on our arms. I will take part in what’s called the Clothesline project, where I will help raise awareness to educate people about how significantly it impacts those being abused. The project offers men, women, children, and supporters an opportunity to have a voice surrounding issues of sexual abuse and assault. This allows victims to speak out and create a healing process to keep moving forward. I can’t wait to be a part of helping women learn to love themselves and not be afraid to speak out when they find themselves in a troublesome situation.
Proposal #29 Approved
Ellen DeGeneres once said “We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.” What brings more kindness and laughter than kids?
When I was growing up, I attended Roberts elementary here in town. After school, while we were waiting for our parents to pick us up, a few college kids would come to campus and play sports with all of us. It was always a fun, memorable time. I want to give that experience to kids today. Less privileged kids are my aim because they may not have access to the necessary equipment and they may be subjected to negative influences. I have grown up a skateboarder and it has been a wonderful experience. Instead of doing things that could get us into trouble, we would skate. There is a free, 24-hour skate park here in town for kids who end up picking it up.
I want to bring a skateboard out to Boys Town and teach the kids the joy that comes along with it. It is such a thrill when you get it for the first time and I know they will be hooked. One of the best parts about skateboarding is the connections you make through the process. I have made lifelong friends through skateboarding. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to travel with my board. I have traveled all over the country, even other countries, where I got to meet new people and see how the activity differs from city to city. It really kept me interested. The fact that skateboarding is an individual sport means you don’t have to rely on getting friends together in order to play. You can just go out to your driveway and practice. Another reason I believe skating would be a good exercise to teach kids is because nobody will ever master it. It is an ever evolving sport where imagination is key. It keeps you wanting more!
With the amount of technology today, staying indoors is tempting, however, it is important to get kids outdoors and exercising. When kids exercise at a young age, it helps their body’s grow healthy, their minds evolve and keeps their hearts heathy. Team sports to a young kid may seem intimidating. That is why I believe skateboarding is a good alternative because there aren’t any rules, any tryouts, it is fun and a great workout.
I may end up bringing more than just a skateboard when I go to visit these kids however. I grew up playing a variety of sports and I think it is crucial to a good, healthy lifestyle in the future. I am a huge advocate to going out and doing things rather than staying indoors. I truly believe skateboarding may be the thing to get kids to do just that.
I plan on bringing a board out and showing kids what it takes and the true joy that comes along with it. All I want in life is to contribute joy to people’s lives by giving them a taste of my own. I believe this is the best way for me to do this at this point in my life.
Proposal #30 Approved!