“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” - Audrey Hepburn
At Veteran’s Village, both my hands were put to use. I brought strawberries to share with the veterans and combined with the food provided from the other students, we were able to create a whole feast for them. There was fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, desserts, salad, etc. set up in the common room. Since there were lots of volunteers, I didn’t have to do as much physical enduring activities as I had expected. The veterans loaded up their food in to go boxes which they took back to their private living corridors. There wasn’t nearly as much engagement with the veterans as I had anticipated. My aunt works for the Veterans Association so every Christmas Eve I accompany her at the southern California version of “Veterans Village.” My expierence was different for it was a lot more about the people and less about the food. All the veterans ate together and chatted not only amongst themselves, but also with the volunteers. While food can be healing, human connection is the most healing.
To be honest, I felt like my core values and skills could have been put to more use. The
only meaningful conversation I had at Veterans Village was with the organizer and some of the students. While my mouth may not have been moving as much as I liked, my mind sure was.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was a circle of planters that were filled with dead and dilapidated plants. I immediately envisioned a future for those planters. I would like to orchestrate a plan to get those planters up and running. Since Veterans Village is right down my street, it would be no trouble for me to pop in once in a while to make sure the garden is growing to its full potential. To start this project, I would like a couple more hands on deck and some financial support in order to purchase the plants and potting soul. This plan will happen with the help of the Honors kids, other TCC students, and my friends. Nutrition is very important to me (hence why I brought strawberries). The things we put into our body directly affects us. While greasy foods may bring comfort, the rewards are not long lasting. Properly nourishing your body, properly nourishes your soul. I believe nutrition is something that can drastically improve lives. I have high hopes that with the improvement of their diet, the veterans can better improve their lives.
I haven’t been around enough to draw firm conclusions, but from what I did see the veterans seem to be stuck. While it is great that they have a place to live with like minded individuals, it would be even better to see them picking up their pieces and moving on. By improving some of the individuals, it would allow for more veterans to cycle through here. The spot is rather small so I can’t imagine there is nearly enough space to house all the homeless veterans in Tallahassee.
A garden would not only provide the veterans with fresh and nutrient filled foods, but also give them another purpose. I think a fully functioning garden would bring prosperity and peace to the veterans. To me, gardening is magical; with my own two hands I am able to create and sustain life. I might not be able to convince the masses, but I bet I could get a couple of the veterans on deck.
Overall, this expierence gave me a rush(mainly because I am so passionate about starting
this garden). In choosing my career path, I wanted to do something that helps people. While I am going to school for nursing, I realize that help can come in many different ways, shapes, and forms. To me, helping these veterans allows me to express something I believe in infinitively. I want to spread health and wellness long and far. I want to help people long and far. I was grateful to be able to partake in this experience and was also grateful that a place like this even exists.
In college, it is easy to feel isolated and victimized. Not only are students attending rigorous and demanding classes, but they are also providing for themselves under tremendous social pressures.
Giving back to the community can allow one to see that the world is bigger than yourself.
It is easy for one to get caught up in their world and forget that we are all here on this earth, sharing a world. College is more than a transitional period before the "real stuff" starts. This time should be treated as an opportunity to utilize the powers already lying inside of you to benefit society.
You should “cultivate your garden” to say. By creating meaningful connections and helping others, a positive exchange of energy is created and ripples in our pool of humanity. Young adults wield a great deal of power and should yield that power now, for giving. Giving affects both parties involved. Giving keeps the scales of life balanced. Giving brings positivity into this world.