The experience I received from this service trip was not only eye opening, but also a reminder that there are other people in this world that have it harder than me. I am so happy to have been able to share this experience with my LAS cohort because together we changed other peoples lives while also changing each others.
I never heard of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy before. I never knew what they taught their students or how their students school schedule worked, until now. I found out that the students go seven days a week for seven hours a day. I found out that their teachers and faculty don’t put up with horse play and are very strict in order to keep the school running smoothly. This year the faculty decided to create a PILOT program, almost like a honor roll class, for a certain amount of Juniors that showed excellence both in and out of the classroom and displayed leadership to the other people around them. We meet with the students of the PILOT program to teach them more about leadership and how they can teach it to others simply by creating an initiative that has a few activities, lays out what leadership means, and what each group wants to accomplish through experience. I was group yellow and we started off by playing an activity called the noodle game which gets the group to interact and learn the names of the people in the group. After that we were more familiar with each other, so we moved on to the next activity which was coming up with what leadership meant to the PILOT program students and what their goals were to get out of our time together. The last activity we did for the day as a group was called gutter ball. This activity was designed to help a group interact even more while also learning on how to build relationships and teamwork within a group. After the activity we said goodbye to the PILOT program students as they went with Jesi and Dan to learn about how they personally can do an initiative. After Jesi and Dan got done meeting with the students we got to talk with the co-principle of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and ask him some questions about how a typical day goes or how his journey to this position came true.
This experience to me was amazing. The co-principle was a Stanford graduate who could have went anywhere in the world he wanted to, but he decided to come to a city that has had a lot of hard times and build an academy from the ground up. He has put his heart and soul into this school and would do anything for the students of Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. He has worked so hard for the academy and it definitely shows. Everyone wasn’t on board at first, but after they noticed that it can be done and will be done they jumped on board and went along with it. What I am definitely going to take away this experience is that if you put your heart and soul into something you truly love, then nothing will ever stop you from reaching your ultimate goal in life.