“Run Toward That Which Disturbs You”

Looking back upon this last week of life-changing experiences, it feels good to have some sort of concerete ideas on what I plan to do after this course is over.

Before we embarked on this trip, I was under the impression that most homeless people fell under the demographic of lazy drug users. This myth was, obviously, debunked. It turns out that women and families are the predominant category of people to fall into homelessness. There are many shelters for women and children. However, now that I’ve expanded my view, I am left wondering what there IS for those single men and single women without children. They should inspire sympathy and compassion as well. They are human beings and need shelter and food. Perhaps they are not as high up on the urgency scale for revitalization, but they still need a bit of help at this point in their lives.

As amazing as the Coalition for the Homeless is, it’s obscene that a non-profit organization is basically forced to carry the burden of a government organization. Something is definitely wrong with the priorities this country holds when its own government can’t even ensure that every citizen has the basic necessities. However, this is not something I can change by myself, at this point in my life.

Therefore, there are a few things I’d like to implement in my life, as I move forwards, that I will make every effort to abide by throughout my daily life.

  1. Always make eye contact with the homeless and other disadvantaged individuals, even if it makes me uncomfortable.
  2. Listen to their stories and show some compassion.
  3. Work with Habitat for Humanity (I may have been sore, but I got such a sense of accomplishment out of it that I’d love to do it again.) www.habitat.org
  4. Involve the College Democrats in service projects, in addition to the already existing political projects.
  5. Work with local restaurants to add a 1% surcharge on meals over $100 and donate that money to local causes.
  6. Use left over meal plan money to buy non-perishable items from the C-store and donate them to Second Harvest Food Bank.
  7. Eventually choose a vocation that involves bettering the world through some form of service. In my case, it will most likely be changing public policy and getting to the root of these problems through the means of politics.

Eventually, I will be a check writer for something, somewhere. I may not yet know what that is, and I have plenty of time to figure that out, but I do know that in my heart, I will always want to ease the suffering in the world, and I will do so in my own special way.

As Meredith likes to say: In service, progress is an important key word. It's unrealistic to expect to change the world with one service project, but progress can always be made.

As this week comes to a close, I am grateful for the eye-opener that was presented to me as a result of this immersion. I would encourage everyone to learn a little bit more about homelessness before making uneducated stereotypical remarks. But most of all, I would encourage everyone to find a cause that they are passionate in, and pursue ways to improve that cause. Everyone has their own unique qualities and passions, and those can easily be put to good use making the world a slightly better place.

For now, I bid you all adieu with the title of this post: run towards that which disturbs you. That is the best way to discover what your service niche is in the world. It was said to me this morning at the panel and it really caught my attention. Enough so, in fact, that even though Kate used it as her blog title as well, I decided to use it anyways as I planned, so much it spoke to me. But I will continue to use it as my motto, and hopefully will discover how I will make the world a better, safer, more caring and peaceful place.

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Ariella Lvov

About Ariella Lvov

Hello, my name is Ariella and I'm a freshman at Rollins College (at least at this point. If you're reading this in the future, I'm most likely not a freshman anymore. Unless I pull a Van Wilder). Currently, I'm double majoring in political science and music. I come from a very musical family and have been playing the piano for 13 years now. Although I was born here, my heritage becomes really obvious the moment I get a phone call from my mother and start babbling to her speedily in the wonderfully Slavic language called Russian. Through the generosity of the Cornell scholarship, I am able to attend my top choice institution and take advantage of opportunities that would've never been available to me if not for Rollins.

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