“We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.” A quote by Ellen DeGeneres that describes how I felt when reflecting my time at the Veterans Village. I believe this quote is extremely appropriate when speaking about the Veteran’s Village because the whole point of this was to help veterans who fought for our freedom, veterans see a lot of disturbing things in war that, if I am being honest, most people would not want to see and that goes back to the quote I picked. The world needs more kindness, compassion, joy and more laughter and that is what I wanted to bring to the veterans that day, even if it was just about two hours, it still means something to me and I’m 100% means something as well to the veterans. I arrived to the Veteran’s Village a little skeptical for two reasons. First reason for me being skeptical was I just moved here from Orlando and I had no idea where I was going (the GPA was not that helpful) and second reason I was being skeptical when pulling up to the Veteran’s Village was it didn’t look like what I was expecting (I actually thought I was in the wrong place until I drove in and asked someone). As I am reflecting on how I felt when first arriving, I would say I feel completely different now. I feel as if I did a lot of good at the Veteran’s Village and that brings joy to me. I am happy I was able to bring something good for them to eat and enjoy, 20 Publix hot chicken wings (which is my favorite food at Publix). I made sure to get them 10 minutes before heading to the Veteran’s Village so it was nice and hot, just for the veterans.
I did a lot at the Veteran’s Village and I feel as if I contributed a lot. First, I got there and started to help set up the food so it can be placed nicely and was easy for the veterans to access themselves and taking out the plastic plates to also be set up and ready for when the veteran’s come in to grab their food. After setting everything up, I took the role of greeting and passing out the silverware/drinks and closing/stacking the desert boxes. It made me smile seeing the veterans smile when I would tell them they could have a second drink if they would like because they all seemed so happy and that opened my eyes and showed me that something so simple as a soda, can make them smile. I met someone who also was in AMH2020 and me and her really hit it off! We both were greeting and providing for the veteran’s and now we follow each other on Instagram which is really cool because not only did the Veteran’s Village make me happy, I gained a friend as well. It was so nice to talk to the veteran’s and see how happy they were to get some delicious food, I met a man who was all about basketball and was from Daytona Beach, Florida, I found that to be really interesting because Daytona is about 45-50 minutes from my hometown, Altamonte Springs, Florida and I mentioned to him that my cousin plays for Daytona State Women’s Basketball and then continued to talk about how I am from Altamonte Springs and he told me he use to party out in Altamonte Springs and that his old high school played Lake Brantley High School, which is where I went and I just thought it was so cool to be so far away from my hometown and meet someone who knows about where I come from.
Second topic I want to talk about is how the Veteran’s Village helped me use my core values and skills in a meaningful way. I have always been the type of person to give back without having to receive anything and although technically I am receiving something, it didn’t feel like that when being at the Veteran Village. My mom is the type of person that when she gets gifts for someone, it has to be multiple because it makes her happy and I feel like I got that from her. Some of my core values that can be helped by doing the Veterans Village have always been reliability, commitment and open-mindedness. First, I used reliability because I signed up for the Veterans Village, said I would be there at a certain time and said I would bring food and I did exactly what I said and it shows me and helps me build my reliability core value. Second, I used commitment was used because again, I committed to doing something and I did it and I am extremely glad I did and last, I used open-mindedness (in a way), I definitely worked on this and learned from the Veterans Village to not be skeptical of things until you actually see what it is. I was only skeptical because I did not see the Veteran’s Village sign when pulling up so I was pretty confused.
Third topic I want to talk about is why other people should find ways to contribute. I feel as if other people should get involved in the Veterans Village, or even something in that same aspect, because of the feeling you get afterwards. The feeling of happiness and the feeling of being proud of something you did for someone else. I think the world is so fasted-pace and could use something that opens their eyes and to provide and do something nice for others!
I concluded that the Veteran’s Village was really good for me. As soon as I left, I called my mom and told her all about it because I was excited and because I knew it would make her happy to know I am doing something like that. I find it so cool that Dr. Soldani takes the time and money to do this for the veterans, I could tell they all loved seeing her and appreciated her so much and it truly makes me admire her and what she does and shows me that when I get older and have my career, I want to love it and make a change as much as she loves hers and makes a change.