“Relay for Life” LEAD Team

When I was a freshman here at Central Michigan University I had to decide which LEAD Team I wanted to be apart of. There were so many to choose from and I had no idea which one I wanted to put my time and effort into as all of them intrigued me. Then I came across the Relay for Life Lead Team and I knew that was the one I wanted to be apart of because I helped organize countless Relay for Life events when I was in high school. My grandmother had also died from cancer two years prior so it made my decision even more worthwhile.

During the course of the year we planned events in order to donate money toward the Relay for Life fund. The event we organized was a scripted dinner that was a dinner but the people at the table were actually part of a scripted event. The dinner was a huge success! Then along came the Relay for Life event which we were planning all year long. There were quite a few teams there and every team had a countless number of people. So in the end the Relay for Life event was another huge success for the University.

I loved every second of being on the Relay for Life LEAD Team my freshman year that I decided to stay on that LEAD Team for my Sophomore year. Once again that year was a huge success for the University! I will never forget the time I spent planning for the event with the rest of the team and seeing what an impact it made on everyone in the community.

Life as a Volunteer

Ever since I was in National Honor Society in high school I always liked volunteering for local nonprofit organizations. As soon as I got to college nothing changed. From the first day of school till now I have volunteered for countless nonprofit organizations and continue to volunteer on a yearly basis. The places I volunteer for range from back home where I use to volunteer for with my high school basketball team to organizations right here in Mt. Pleasant. Every experience has taught me something that I will never regret. It has taught me to never take what I have in my life for granted and to always give back to those not as fortunate as I might be. A sense of well being always comes over me when I am volunteering to help better someone’s life.

Within the past year I have volunteered for multiple nonprofit organizations and one of those was the Port Sanilac Project Blessing. This organization I have been volunteering for ever since I was a freshman in high school. My high school basketball team and I would help deliver presents to families during Christmas time in the local community. Till this day, every year around Christmas time I go home and volunteer for the Port Sanilac Project Blessing. I love volunteering for them because it makes me feel happy to give back to the people in my community that I once grew up in.

Another nonprofit organization I have volunteered for within the past year was the Port Sanilac Parks and Recreation. This experience was for my summer internship, but it was still all volunteer work. My job was a head softball coach for 8U girls in Port Sanilac. Let me tell you it is an experience in itself trying to teach 8 year old girls how to play softball and dealing with the many mood swings of a young girl. With that said, I wouldn’t have changed my decision to coach those girls a million times over. That was probably the most exciting and life teaching moment in my entire life. I loved every second of teaching those girls how to play softball. Even though in the end we didn’t win a game, but like I told the girls it’s not about winning and losing, it’s about learning how to actually play the right way while also having fun doing it. By the time the end of the season came along, the girls showed so much improvement and were laughing and having fun together playing the game of softball.

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I could go on and on about the places I have volunteered for, but I would rather not so the last nonprofit organization I volunteer for during this time of year every year since I was a freshman in college is the Mt.Pleasant Parks and Recreation. My job is a kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade basketball coach for both boys and girls combined. I love volunteering for Mt.Pleasant Parks and Recreation because I get to meet all the kids in the community and see what they like playing sports wise. This opportunity allows me to pass on the knowledge and skills that I was taught from all of my basketball coaches from when I was a kid about their age. Although I love volunteering for Mt.Pleasant Parks and Recreation it is sad to say that this year was my last year with them as next year I will be looking for graduate schools and doing interviews with them so I won’t have the time to volunteer with them in the spring semester for basketball.

Pre-Physical Therapy Club

When I first got to Central I had an idea of what I wanted to do for my career, but I didn’t know anyone or who I was suppose to visit with for more information on what I wanted to do, then Mainstage happened. I found what I had been looking for along that would point me in the right direction. The registered student organization (RSO) that I came into contact with was Central’s Pre-Physical Therapy Club.

The Pre-Physical Therapy Club is dedicated to informing and bringing together students interested in the field of Physical Therapy. Students range in ages, grades, and majors. Meetings provide insight to the graduate school application process, specialties in the field of physical therapy, assistance with undergrad major decisions and course work, along with interactions with physical therapists and graduate school faculty. Events are held during each semester, including socials, fund-raisers, and volunteer events. The club meets every other Tuesday at 8:00 PM in Pearce Hall 135. Dues are $20 per year.

Ever since I dislocated my elbow in 5th grade and had to go through physical rehab to help heal my arm I have always wanted to be a physical therapist. It took a while to actually see results, but once I could tell where I started and where I ended knew I wanted to do that because I wanted to help people get back to 85 to 90% of their previous strength. If I never ended up going to physical therapy I would have lost all movement in my elbow and would have never been able to fully extend my elbow again. I don’t want to see someone that has been hurt loss all mobility, so that is why I have chosen the career path I am still currently pursuing and also why I have decided to stick with the Pre-Physical Therapy Club since my freshman year of college.

 

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

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After getting about two hours of sleep we were all up bright and early to go and volunteer for the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. When we showed up to the first sight we were told this was where the LAS cohort from last year volunteered and that we would be heading somewhere else to volunteer this time. So we headed deeper into the heart of Detroit and when we got to the place where we were going to be volunteering it was a sight I was not use to seeing. Some houses were being torn apart, some looked like they were lit on fire, and others looked like no one had lived their for awhile. The house that we were going to work on though was under construction and being ripped down to its original structure.

Tyson, the guy that was the head of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, handed out jobs to my cohort. Some were told to pick up trash around the block, some were told to help inside the house, some were told to haul trash bags full of plaster to the side to the streets for mass pick up day on Tuesday, and others were told to burn the pieces of wood that were in the trash bags. I was one of the people who were given the job of cleaning up inside the house. When we got into the house we were told to put on white cloth suits, breathing masks, and eye protection so that we wouldn’t get hurt or breathe any dust particles. We were then told to go upstairs and pick up and separate the plaster, insulation, and wood pieces. The plaster and insulation were to be put in garbage bags and the wood pieces were to be put in plastic containers. After we got done with upstairs we hauled the materials downstairs and into the street were the other LAS students were putting the bags on the side of the streets and the wood in the fire. When we got outside though a police officer had shown up and asked were the supervisor was. Tyson came out and talked to the officer and after a couple of fire trucks and hazardous waste trucks later the whole situation was cleared and we got back to work. Tyson then told us we had to separate the garbage bags that were on the side of the streets into bigger sections and smaller piles. By the time we got done separating the bags it was time for a quick picture and then time to hit the road back to Mt. Pleasant.

This experience taught me a lot about who I am and how other people might have a harder time then me in life. I realized that people in Detroit jump to conclusions before they actually know what is going on because so much hatred and crime has happened that not very often a glimpse of light shows through the cracks in the sidewalks. I also learned that when leading a group there is plenty of factors that can contribute to a good or bad experience and in an instant things can go from good to bad and bad to good. Something that I am going to definitely take away from this service trip is that you can change a lot in only a few hours. You can clean a yard with mounds of trash and a house full of plaster and pieces of wood to a clean yard and house in a matter of hours. Just imagine what a group of people can do to a block in a week. Changing communities by helping them clean up will always be a inspiration to me.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

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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.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Walls That Divide Us

In class Wednesday, March 26, 2014 we talked about the service trip most of my Leader Advancement cohort are going on this weekend in Detroit. We talked about what we are going to do and how everything is going to go. We talked about who is going to facilitate at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. We talked about what questions we had about the trip like, “What are you hoping to gain from this trip, or what are you afraid of when we go to Detroit?” There was one thing though that we did that stuck out to me the most. It was when Jesi showed us a video called Hiding in Plain Sight: The Walls That Divide Us.

The video talked about how decades of housing inequality in Detroit has lead to many problems. This video really hit home because I don’t come from a huge place like Detroit, I come from a small town of about 200 people, but my mom grew up in Detroit and I have family that live in the InterCitys around Detroit, so I have been there and know what it looks like and what goes on there. It is heartbreaking that almost 150 years ago African American people were set free from the chains of slavery, but were still discriminated against after given their freedom. African American’s are still discriminated against today. It might not be in plain view, but it is out there where everyone looks past and doesn’t realize it is right in front of them. In the video it talks about the wall being a physical barrier between African American’s and Whites and that African American’s couldn’t live on both sides of the wall. Today though African American’s can live on both sides of the wall, but all of the whites moved to the other side of the county line called 8 Mile Road. Even though there isn’t a physical barrier in plain sight along 8 Mile Road, there is a psychological barrier separating Whites and African American’s. I want there to be a way that people can view themselves as equals, but I don’t think it will ever happen. The invisible chains of discrimination will always be there holding people back from actually viewing each other as equals.

Resolution Reflection

Everyone wants something in their life, but most people don’t know what they want. They don’t know whether they want it today or tomorrow, now or later, but there is always a want in someone. What they want may come fast or it may take its time, but when it finally does get here they will appreciate it even more. What I want is never now, it is always something in the future. For example, I want all A’s at the end of the semester. I never know what I want now, but I always know what I want in the future. I want to build my own house, get married, and raise a family with the one I love I know I want that for a fact. Another thing I always want is to go above and beyond my own expectations. I know if I can do this then I would be the happiest person in the world, but some times it doesn’t end up the way you expect it to. That’s why you always have to believe in yourself and keep pushing on with your head up.

There is only three things I need for the year of 2014 and they are Family, Love, and Laughter. I need family because they are the ones that my life revolves around. They are the ones that keep me going day in and day out. They are the ones that when I am having a bad day will always be there for me to listen and to talk me out of my state of sadness. I need love because it’s what keeps your heart pumping and your confidence booming. Love is what shows you other sides of people and what they are capable of. The last thing that I need is laughter. Laughter releases the stress that builds up inside someone. Everyone says it takes more muscles to frown then it does to smile.

Well since I am becoming a Sophomore in college this coming fall that means I get a mentee. Oh all the things I am going to be able to share with him or her. Like what classes to take and not take, where to go if they need help with classes, and always if they need help with homework I will be there to help them with that. Another thing I will share this year is my services to my community and family. Each day I plan on making a difference for someone I come into contact with, whether it be something simple or something that changes their life forever I want to be apart of that.

The only thing I will succeed at is the thing I poor my heart and soul into. If I put anything less then that into whatever I am doing then to my expectations I have failed because like I said before I expect myself to go above and beyond what I am expected to do. I know this year is going to have its up and downs, but I just hope I can succeed in whatever I plan on doing this year.