For the past semester, I have been participating in a long-term service opportunity through Mount Leadership Society and through my service-learning class, ESHESA 2751. Every Friday, I travel downtown to the Community Kitchen on Ohio Ave for the afternoon. The Community Kitchen is a no-questions-asked soup kitchen open to the public, in order to feed those who are in need. They don’t stop there, though. Employees at the Community Kitchen also help clients find jobs and housing in order to become more self-sufficient.
My role at the Community Kitchen has been to help with any needed tasks for the day. Often, my shifts are filled with chopping produce, serving sandwiches, and mopping floors. Although, the tasks have become routine, the clientele I meet on a weekly basis is not. The population of clients served at Community Kitchen is very diverse. Many are homeless, while others are not; some have college degrees, while some never finished high school; some are white, and some are black; there are males, females, and even children. This immense diversity, and this opportunity, have allowed me to meet members of my community that I would not have otherwise met.
My time at the Community Kitchen has given me a new perspective on the issues of poverty and food insecurity in my own community. My experiences have also opened my eyes to racial disparity and racial discrimination in a new way. Combined with in-class discussions about privilege and social class, I have grown much more conscious of my circumstances and how I can use my abilities to help others. It has made me better understand how much I have been given, and helped me to realize that, in turn, I should give back as much as I can.
During our first year as Mount Scholars, our main project of the year is Mount Legacy Week. For this project, we split up into 6 focus groups: Education, Health, Poverty, Environment, Global, and Abuse. This year, I had the honor of working team global. Our task was to create 3 service projects from scratch that would uphold the Mount family legacy in our community.
We spent a few months brainstorming possible ideas and agencies to work with for our projects and landed on Prezens, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS), and the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Our team split into 3 sub-groups in order to better focus on each project. I was a member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities team.
Our project concept was to spend two nights at the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Columbus interacting with the families there and creating thoughtful cards to send to families residing in other Ronald McDonald Houses around the world in countries such as Colombia, New Zealand, China, and Germany. We provided translations of inspirational quotes in each language as well as fun facts about the culture in each country. We enjoyed getting to sit and talk to the residents and hear their stories. It was so fun getting to hear from people who have traveled across the country to receive the top notch care from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. We brought smiles to their faces, they brought smiles to ours, and our hopes are that theses cards will bring smiles to the faces of those going through a difficult time across the world.
Mount Legacy Week was a humbling experience to say the least. It showed just how much we really can do to impact our community when we come together–not just in Columbus, OH, but around the world.
I went to a large high school–the largest public high school in Ohio–Mason High School. With a large high school, comes large opportunities. Within our school we housed two student run businesses: a spirit wear shop, Comet Zone, and a fully functioning bank underwritten by Fifth Third, Comet Savings & Loan. As a junior, I was accepted to work as a employee in CS&L’s marketing department. As a Senior, I had the honor of serving as a VP of Marketing and leading my own team of employees.
As a VP of Marketing, my team was given the task of creating interesting campaigns to run that would entice students and staff to open accounts with us or to transact in order to keep them connected and keep business up. CS&L has six main objectives: Increase Deposits on Hand, Increase Awareness, Increase Transactions, Increase Accounts, Increase Profit, and Make Customers Feel Welcome. Our marketing team worked specifically on increasing transactions, but as marketers, we worked with all six of the bank objectives.
Our main job was to increase our average daily transactions each month. We did this by teaming up with local restaurants and business that would donate prizes for us to entice customers with. We worked closely with data analysts to review our numbers for each month as well as numbers from past years to analyze what types of campaigns are most effective. With each campaign, we were given an allotment of petty cash, which we then had to responsibly budget out in order to maximize the budget and ensure that we would be getting a good return on investment.
Overall, this experience gave me a glimpse into the work world and what it will be like to work in the business industry. I learned how to effectively work in a team, which included equal participation, controversy with civility, and playing to each person’s individual strengths. Working with money taught valuable financial responsibility skills that can be carried over into daily life as well as the work force. Working with analysts taught analytical skills and the ability to critique our work and brainstorm ways to improve. Being able to explore our creativity in a safe environment allowed us to grow and learn from ourselves and our peers.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel across the beautiful country of Italy. My family and I made our way through Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and the Tuscan Countryside. As you can imagine, I immediately fell in love with the food, the views, and the culture. We went there having never gone there before and not being able to speak a lick of Italian. This made for a very exciting and very confusing two weeks. I was surprised, though, at how easily we were still able to find our way around the large cities of Rome and Florence. Thanks to modern technology and google maps, we only got lost a few times (maybe a little more than a few), and most of the natives knew enough english to communicate with tourists. When we got into the Tuscan Countryside, however, the locals there did not speak any english. This created a large language barrier for us along with our already obvious cultural barrier being that we were tourists in non-tourist towns. To our surprise, the locals were very welcoming and friendly people that made an effort to find humorous ways to overcome the barriers.
It was quite a learning experience and it opened my eyes to new history lessons, new sites, and new ways of life. Each city told a different story about the history of the country and taught me more about the world around me. It has inspired my desire to learn more history lessons, see more sites, and experience more ways of life by studying abroad and taking advantage of more opportunities outside of my comfort zone that allow me to grow and explore.