Sunday, December 10, 2017

N: Finding the things that make you happy gives your life more meaning.

AMH 2020 Service Project
            “We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.” – Ellen.  

Ellen DeGeneres is one of my role models, as she uses her platform to influence others and spread kindness and happiness.  Her current project and collaboration with Cheerios is called a “Million Acts of Good.”   She brings positive attention to people who deserve it and reminds everyone to be kind to one another.  Some examples of people that have been highlighted on her show are teachers go above and beyond for their students, or the groom that jumped into a lake to save a drowning boy while taking his wedding photos.  She wants a kinder world and she is able to spread that message through her talk show and uses her comedic nature to highlight people in the most positive way.  Helping others, being kind, and giving back are all extremely important values we all should take part in.  Ellen’s goal is for people to do this on a daily basis and not wait until natural disasters or tragedies.   
            For my service project, I decided to donate items to the Veterans Village Holiday Party.   Target is my favorite store so of course I don’t mind shopping there any chance I get.  The list for the veterans wish list was all necessities like towels, sheets, pajamas and slippers.  I realize I take all those things for granted, like so many of my friends do.  While strolling the aisles and seeing so many random things that would be fun to have, I realized I need to stop and really focused on my mission that I was not here for me.  I was here to shop for someone else that deserves these things.  Veterans have already shown their support for all of us through their service to our country.  So my shopping spree was going to be a service to them. I picked two towels, pajamas, slippers and a gift card. As we have discussed in class, these items go a long way in someone’s life.  With so many participating from each class, each person makes a small donation yet produces a big outcome. Gifting these items spreads holiday cheer and warmth and it lends a helping hand to those that don’t take these items for granted.             
            In the future, I hope to be an Occupational Therapist for special needs children.  I have been fortunate to be a camp counselor for the past several years in Palm Beach Gardens.  Working with children of all ages, abilities and needs is what developed my interest in OT.   Part of the educational process is to be exposed to therapies for all ages and abilities.  Occupational therapy is a vital need to vets that return from service and have had life altering injuries or PTSD.  The transition back from service to home life is hard for many.  So making a significant connection to someone is so important for all of us.  My ultimate goal is to enhance my patients’ day to day lives through therapy and to create a connection.  I hope the gifts I selected resonates with someone and makes their day just a little easier and lets them know they are important and valued.  Although I cannot offer them therapy yet, I can offer the warmth of pajamas and soft slippers and the happiness of strolling the aisles with a gift card in hand. 
For me, community involvement is a huge part of my life.  Donating goes beyond materials things because donating your time not only brightens up my day, but also someone else’s. I think I have a huge impact on others.  Back home I have dedicated many summer hours to spending time with special needs children.  In return, it has become my weekly therapy.  During the time I spend with them, I forget about anything stressful going on in my world and just focus on them. Children have such a different outlook on life.  Their perspective has taught me to step back and try to see through their eyes.  I have had many of my own friends and even people from my high school learn about different behaviors and disabilities through volunteering with me.  At first, I didn’t know I could have that much of an impact on a volunteer program, but one person can make a difference.  I am also determined to start my own project here in Tallahassee with special needs kids so I can continue to grow and learn from them. 
One of my core values is happiness.  I believe that many of the bad and toxic things in our lives can be hindered by missing out on what truly makes you happy.  Day to day life is so much harder to accomplish when you let the outside chaos make you miserable and sad.  Some  people come from extremely rough situations and reflect their anger or frustration on others.  I know there must be a different way to do things than just be an angry person.  Finding the things that make you happy gives your life more meaning.  For me, I am lucky that I have found what makes me happy which is working with children.  The joy kids get from the simplest of things is something we should not forget as adults.  You do have to stay connected to your inner child as that is what makes life so much more enjoyable and easy going. 
Ellen DeGeneres is a joy spreader.  She has a wonderful outlook on life and really accepts people for who they are.  She dances through her audience in the opening of her show, and through that simple act, people join in and feel accepted.  In the future, I hope I can encourage others to help people in need and to make them feel accepted.  This world does need more kindness and compassion right now.  The holidays are a perfect time to spread some joy and make people feel good about themselves.  I hope these gifts make the veterans feel the joy of the holidays and know how much they are appreciated.