It may be the last day of this intersession, but in my eyes this class will last for the rest of our lives. This experience was not only about seeing what is occurring and helping out for a couple of days in the “bad side of town”. The bigger objective was to jumpstart our determination for positive movement. This trip will never be forgotten, because now everyone in the class is beginning to plan ways to change what we saw and experienced.
We were given the task of creating an Action Plan which we hope to follow for the rest of our lives. We started out with personal things that we would like to start as soon as possible. People chose causes that were important to them, like homelessness and animal rights. I chose to broaden my audience when I teach how to combat our current environmental problems. As I described in a previous post, the past few summers I have taught environmental aspects to children and I want to bring some of the lessons to students on campus. I am not sure of the logistics yet, but will hopefully get the ball rolling on this project soon.
As a group we decided to propose two main ideas to help our local community. The first is to use extra meal plan money at the end of the year to buy food for the homeless. Thinking about how I will have about $800 extra at the end of the year myself, this will make a HUGE difference for local food banks if many people do the same. If only 200 people donate an extra $500 worth of food, the local banks will get $100,000 worth of food. Our campus is much bigger than 200 people, so this project does not seem too far fetched. The other project was to ask local restaurants to charge a 1% surcharge on all bills over $100 that will be donated to the nearby shelters. This will make a monumental difference for the shelters, because Miami created a similar program that gave 9 billion dollars to shelters each year. This is another small thing that people can do that will positively affect a great number of people.
As you can tell, I adore marine animals (:
The final step in our action plan is to pick a job that will create positive change in our world. I aspire to be a marine biologist at an aquarium where I can continue to educate children on our environment. By working with the education program at the aquarium I will promote progress and the children will be able to create a better future for the environment. It will start a chain reaction which will hopefully end in a well-respected world.
I am going to end my final blog post with a quote by Nicholas Murray Butler. Hopefully it will inspire you to make changes just how I have been inspired by this immersion trip.
“There are three kinds of people; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.”
Why would anyone believe that a person would specifically choose to be homeless? I can’t comprehend how some people despise people without homes on the basis of this belief. Would you ever want to be homeless? Of course not! It is wrong to discriminate against people just because they don’t have a home.
The movie “Easy Street” confirmed my belief that homeless people need education and help finding jobs extremely badly. This movie showed how food for the homeless in St. Petersburg is easy to find due to the abundance of organizations offering food. Homeless people in the movie explained that if you were hungry in St. Petersburg then there was something wrong with you. These people need to be educated and helped in order to get them up off of the streets. The problems that they face while on the streets must be addressed along with the causes of why they are there.
The Coalition for the Homeless addresses both the problems faced and causes of being homeless. They provide food, shelter, and hygiene for these people without anywhere else to go. On top of this, many of the services they provide help the homeless prepare for a future like job interview help, education classes, and daycare. This is the kind of program that I believe will help make a large difference if there were many located around the country. Each branch would contribute to making the rate of homelessness decrease greatly.
Each day makes me more and more grateful for what I have been given in life. Today when we got to spend time with the children at the homeless shelter it broke my heart that I knew that they didn’t have the necessities in life. I love working with kids after working at a summer camp for a couple of years, so I definitely plan on retuning as a volunteer.
I am currently overwhelmed with adrenaline, excitement, and satisfaction for what I have done in the past few days. I haven’t had this much of a good time in quite a while.
I started the day off by painting around an entire house which may seem easy, but it was no small feat. Working alongside the future owners of the houses made it really hit home that we were making a huge difference in the lives of multiple people. After doing various jobs around the worksite for a couple of hours, the houses really began to come together. The cabinets were up, the trim was painted, and the appliances were delivered. I didn’t want to leave the site at the end of the day. I really want to help build the houses until the very end when the families move in. It would be amazing to see the faces on the family members’ faces when they see where they are going to be living for possibly the rest of their lives. I’m hoping I can find a Habitat for Humanity build site close to Rollins that I can help out with on a monthly basis.
After a tiring day of work, we headed to Panera for a delicious meal. Feeling rejuvinated, we decided to go to a nearby go-kart track.We had no idea what was in store for us when we made this decision. Tonight consisted of bonding while moving at speeds of 45 mph and cutting each other off to the point of almost spinning out. It may seem difficult to become closer to one another under these conditions but trust me when I say we are completely bonded together. Tonight was a perfect ending adventure to a perfect couple of days in St. Pete.
When you hear the word homeless, what are your immediate thoughts? Before this immerision trip, my thoughts consisted of numbers, percentages, and preconcieved notions of people without houses and jobs. After studying statistics about poverty and the people currently under poverty, they began to lose their identities. The second that I met all of the amazing and inspiring people of the Speakers Bureau of Pinellas County who are currently or were recently homeless, I was overwhelmed by my realization that these are PEOPLE! They all have life stories, aspirations, and needs like every other person in the world but in some step in life they tripped and had difficulty getting back onto their feet. In many of the cases, this misstep was in no fault their own, yet they make the best of their situation and move on with their life.
Today was filled with a lot of hard work, incredible people, delicious food, and flying napkins. If you have never been to a Greek restaurant then you NEED to go! It is quite the experience. I will never forget the stories told throughout dinner and the laughs we shared.
What is service to you? Feeding the homeless? Donating money to a worthy cause? Service to me is more about helping both the local community and communities around the world in ways that are sustainable and will help them throughout the future. For the past three summers, I have volunteered countless hours at a summer camp at an animal shelter where we not only help take care of the animals but also teach the kids what they can do to create positive change in the world. This ranged from showing the 2nd graders how to recycle to educating the older of the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. This week will allow me to continue my service for bettering the world.
one of the many summer camp sessions
This immersion trip has already opened my eyes to the problems that I wouldn’t readily acknowledge in everyday life. After growing up in a small, suburban, middle class town, things like poverty and welfare wouldn’t normally be a topic of conversation. Sometimes I feel that after being raised in such a small community, I have been sheltered from the severe problems that the world is currently facing.
I will leave this entry with a challenge for you: in the next week I want you to expand your current viewpoint through which ever means you see fit as I also expand my own.