#30: Volunteer at Nursing Home
“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.
#31: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
- Audrey Hepburn
A very unselfish quote from Audrey Hepburn as read above. I picked this quote over the others because I thought it would have more significance to my project proposal. For my service project I would like to volunteer at the NSPL aka the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I looked it up and it says that 6% of United States residents over the age of 18 have some form of depression. There are many different types and levels of depression. Just going through a break up or failing a math quiz types of sadness/depression don’t count. I’m taking about people who have mental disorders and actual problems in life that warrant actual depression. I’ve always have been kind of a keep to my self guy. Very self conscious and I tend to overthink very small things to the point of it ruining my mood or my day. I’ve struggled with the depression. My huge social anxiety problems, sexual feelings, my appearance, my own self worth and death; all thoughts in my mind. The reason I’m able to type this story about the time I tried to kill myself is because that part of my life is behind me. I’ll never let it get that bad again to the point of what I just said. I’m better now. Not the happiest happy person in the world, but better. That’s where the quote comes in play from in the beginning. I grew older and helped my self. Now I want top help others with the same problems. I want to volunteer my time at my local National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Lucky me there’s one if Tallahassee. I’m not sure if I’m ready or qualified to take on calls from the phone but I want to provide my time and services in any way I can help. Depression can lead to suicide and I want to help out to do anything to stop that. Life is a precious thing you can’t take for granted. I want to see these people in need to realize that like I did. Just by talking or listening to a person’s problems and what there going through is a great start. People who talk about there feelings and don’t keep them bottled up often feel better about it. I know I did when I talked to someone. I’d talk and relate and listen and offer anything I can. So that’s why I want to volunteer at my local National Suicide Prevention Lifeline center. Sorry to go all sad and stuff in the project proposal, I’m usually pretty funny and sarcastic when I write, but I guess not this time.
#32: Helping with Immigrants
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.
#33: March of Dimes
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 there pain that would make my heart melt.
#34: Water Bottles Etc
“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 mourning. I assumed no one asked him to and that’s what made his actions stick with me.
#35: Math Champion
“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.” - Helen Keller
Last semester my MAT1033, math, teacher nominated me to be a Math Champion because I was one of her top students. A Math Champion is a student who tutors other students in math. I could not take the opportunity though because I was already so busy. I have a job in Wakulla County at a Daycare center called Happy Time. I work with kids of many different ages but I mostly work with four year olds.
For my service project I would like to create two fun and educational games that the four year old kids can play to teach them some math skills.
For the first game I would print out different shapes then cut them out so each kid would get a set. I would print out five circles, five squares, and five triangles. Once each kid gets their shapes I would ask them to hold up a certain amount. For example I would ask “Hold up three circles and two triangles” and see who did it first. The winner of the game would receive two pieces of candy and everyone else would get one piece.
For the second game I would print out different animals for them to color. I would print out five fish, five birds, and five hippopotamus'. I would ask them to color a specific amount of each animal a specific color. For example, I would say “Color four fish orange and two birds red” and see who would finish first. Whoever finishes first would get two pieces of candy and everyone else would get one piece for participation. Playing both of these games will take about fifteen minutes to complete once a day once a week for three weeks. There are fifteen kids that will participate in these games too.
The reason why I want to do this is because I want to help the kids become more prepared when they go into kindergarten. Even though I am not teaching them anything new I am helping them keep this information that they already know in their minds to memorize it for the future to better themselves in school. And by doing this I am helping school be easier for them which in the long run is great because we all know how school can become hard. I would love to help them in any way I can because they are just such great kids.
#36: Clothesline Project
“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.
#37: Veterans Village
#38: Working with Homeless
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own” (Lao Tzu). I can’t say for sure that I have ever went a day without the luxury food, a bath or shelter. I consider it a luxury because it isn’t something that everyone has. The city of Tallahassee has a over populated community of the homeless; I find it ridiculous. They are under nurirest and deprived of a safe shelter. However, I have a more deeper compassion for mothers that can't provide these things for their children. I can't began to understand how it would feel if my mom couldn't fix me a meal. I personally went through a time where my mom lost her job. She worked for a private company; the only job that she could find. This job didn’t meet all our needs but, it paid our bills. She went to work the following morning and, it was gone. She was out of a job so, we stayed in hotels. I am thankful to have the mother that I have because it wasn’t until I was older that I realized that our photos were taken in hotels. She never complained which made my siblings and I never notice that we were living in hard times. Children look to their parents to lead the flock but, sometimes they have reach all possibilities that they themselves have ran out of answers.
Although, I can’t give them everything that they need I want to make a small difference. I want to donate supplies that are give to women and children when that are placed in the emergency shelter rooms for families. I want to vow to donate and spend time seeing if I can lend a hand to families in need.
#39: Inspirational Messages
“I am a huge believer in giving back and helping out in the community and the world. Think globally, act locally I suppose. I believe that the measure of a person’s life is the affect they have on others.” – Steve Nash
For my project proposal, I decided to give my fellow school mates some encouraging words. I want to start off by saying that I enjoy helping people in general. My mother always taught me that everyone is important. Walking around my TCC campus, I have noticed that most of the students are always by themselves, and looking stressed out. When I first moved to Tallahassee, I wanted to have some positivity in my life. At the time, I did not have any pictures to hang up. One day I was on my computer and looked up some quotes. A thought popped up in my head. I began to write them on sticky notes and index cards to put all around my room. When I remembered doing it for myself, I felt as though it would be good for others. I decided to look online and write some inspiring quotes to pass out. The feedback I got from students was phenomenal. I was extremely proud of myself because it was something I could add and cross off my list of goals. I remember a girl by the name of Emily who I always walk by in the morning for class. I decided to hand her a quote. I believe in God, and she did as well. She told me that she needed someone to talk to and cried. When I asked her what was wrong she told me about her troubles that have been going on for the past couple of weeks. Her story touched my heart, and I knew God put me in place for her. I never thought that I would be able to help her in a way that would make her look at life differently. That same day I told my god father, and he told me that I did a good thing. He helped me come up with idea to do the same for church. Instead of putting inspirational quotes, I decided to put scriptures. I still must do it because unfortunately church service was canceled. I will go through with it next week because I feel as though I can make a difference.
Since I decided to pass the quotes around I have been completely humble. It made me realize even more that life is precious and people can be uplifted and moved just by what another can do. It makes me feel special, and I really feel like I can help change the world with one little step at a time.