“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” -Douglas Adams
Kids Incorporated at the Big Bend is a program consisting of five Early Head start locations that help children ages 0-3 of at-risk families with early learning and skills. There are many different positions to choose from when signing up to volunteer. Everything from programmatic teacher to office assistant. During orientation, I got a little more background knowledge about each position and for my service project I chose to be an administration office assistant at the main office of Kids Incorporated. While I was there I would assist the Volunteer Specialist, Ms. Alyssa Duany. I would help her input data in the computer for the family Christmas project, Holiday Happiness. This is a project that gives families in need a great Christmas. I would also help input volunteer records and information into the computer. I really enjoyed doing the computer work because I just finished a computer course that taught me how to make spread sheets as well as the ins and outs to all Microsoft programs.
The main job I did here was computer data. I would either input records or purge them. The whole volunteering process goes through a program called Donor Perfect. This program is a list of everyone that has donated, volunteered or has been a part of one of the centers. Under a person’s name is contact information, if a person has donated anything and if a person has volunteered at all. Every time a new person is added to the system, it costs Kids Incorporated money to Donor Perfect. My job was to go through a list of everyone in the system and see if they have donated money or time to any of the centers or been to any events. If they have not then they would be erased from the system. While going through this list I noticed that there were a lot of companies, groups and clubs in the system. I thought this was a great way for people to volunteer and help out as a group. Bonding through volunteer work with coworkers, club members or even teammates is a great way to increase involvement. It grows people closer together for a great cause.
My service has connected to my core value because I believe in making lasting relationships. By volunteering at Kids Incorporated I have met very nice people and made some great connections. Kids Inc. has different events with people from the community. I plan on volunteering at these events so that I can meet more people while giving back.
This service project connected to my major because with any major it’s great to make connections with people. For Political Science it is great to get government connections which is exactly what I did. Kids Incorporated is government funded so everything they are built on is the government. By getting my foot in the door and working for a government corporation, I am opening up many different opportunities.
With my service project, I believe that I impacted the families of Kids Incorporated. Without Alyssa, these families would not have near as many events and opportunities as they do and I was able to be right next to her through this. Without my service, the Kids Incorporated office might not have gotten everything done that they needed to before Christmas so I was very happy that I could be a helping hand. I also believe that I have impacted the community just by giving back. I have talked to some of my friends about this experience trying to get them interested as well.
I feel like I have a little family there. Everyone is so nice and helpful when I need it. Having people like this around you makes life easier. It also opens many doors that you aren’t even expecting. They have hundreds of volunteers that help out at the multiple centers, so who knows I might be introduced to someone that can benefit me in my future.
In the future, if anyone every asks me where a good place to volunteer is, I will always say Kids Incorporated and Veterans Village, because volunteering at these places just for a couple hours has made a huge impact on my life. There are so many different ways to volunteer at Kids Inc. and you can choose to have multiple positions. I have considered helping out at one of the centers where I can be around children and help teach them. I am going to see how my spring semester goes before I make the decision but I really love working with kids. While I was in middle and high school I would volunteer at my church every summer for vacation bible school. I was able to play with the kids and help them with anything for a whole week and it was always the highlight of my summer. In high school my cheer team and I would volunteer at Give Kids the World. Which is a place where children with life-threatening illnesses can go with their families and not have to worry about expenses. They get to go to Disney and have a whole week of fun.
Although I only volunteered there for a couple months, I am going to continue on next semester and hopefully long after that as well. Ms. Alyssa is super flexible with hours and scheduling so even though I will be transitioning into FSU for my spring semester I know that I will still be able to volunteer for her without overwhelming myself. FSU has a student ambassador program that does work for Kids Incorporated so I am very interested in joining that because I basically have already started. I am so thankful for having to complete this service project. Without Dr. Soldani I probably would not have gone out into the community and helped like a good citizen should. I will never forget what she has done for me.