Maya Angelou once stated, “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.” Our U.S military is one of the most advanced and most powerful army in the world. Millions of U.S citizens sacrifice their lives to protect the freedom and the constitution of the United States. The constitutional rights of citizens and the liberty that few individuals embrace are reasons for protecting. Our modern veterans are the ones that serve in our military that were involved in wars such as the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and the wars in the Middle East. These veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, amputations and fallen veterans. Much of these veterans are either homeless, or are at risk of being homeless because of job lay off which results in unstable financial circumstances. Serving the military, I have learned how valuable a veteran is. A veteran was a guardian of our country and most people don’t recognize our military men and women who fought in these harsh wars. My service learning project was volunteering at North Florida Homeless and at Risk Veterans Stand Down. I volunteered to give thanks to those who fought for our country and give an uplifting affect on them.
The VA Stand Down took place on April 21, and 22 at the North Florida Fair Grounds. Since February, I raised awareness throughout the TCC community. I handed out flyers and post flyers in the homeless center. At times, I would see homeless people on the streets and if I had flyers, I would give them one. The flyers explained the event for homeless veterans or at risk veterans. The purpose of the event was to give the benefits to the veterans and give them variety of services. Such services included free haircuts, free transportation, free food, free bicycles and free clothing. Other services that were given at no charge were medical examinations, dental exams, pharmacy services, and veterinary services. I raised money by announcing the event at my church in Quincy and raised about $33. At the Stand Down arrived at 7:30 in the morning. I volunteered to be the front gate attendant. I was at the gate and greeted all the veterans and directed them to their specific service they needed. I also assisted the veterans who aren’t able to walk by taking them on a golf cart down to the buildings. Each shift lasted for three hours. My next shift, volunteered to help the veterans fil out any paper work for their pets for the veterinaries services. I was amazed at how many veterans came and how many organizations volunteered to help out. After a delicious lunch with the veterans, I headed home with a warm feeling that I had done a great deed.
Not only did I volunteered at the VA Stand Down for the service learning project, I did it because I admire and I wanted to help those men and women who risked their lives to protect my future and the freedom of this country. Once I heard about the event from another classmate, I asked him if could he could give me additional information, and he gave me a flyer. I made serval of copies to raise awareness. I felt a feeling that I should I go on the Stand Down event to give thanks to those veterans by helping them receive the benefits the event offered. I also did it because no other volunteering event looked more interesting than the VA Stand Down event.
Not only did I helped the veterans assist in filling out paper work or greet them, but I had a positive effect on them and the community. I feel like I made a few connection with some the veterans. Some told me stories of the years they had served in the military. We compared of how the military is now and how it was back then. I feel like I made a difference in the community. I had the opportunity to interact with unfamiliar people and contribute my service for the community.
In conclusion, I had an amazing experience in my volunteering for the VA Homeless Stand Down. I had an amazing time interacting with numerous of people and make my network bigger. Although volunteering was for an assignment, I took it as chance to use my free service to contribute to the community. I learned how important is to volunteer. I plan to attend every annual VA Stand Down to continue helping our brave heroes who deserve attention and a home.