This semester I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in service learning both for Dunn Scholars as well as out of DSWS with other organizations that I am engaged in at Ohio State. With Dunn Scholars I participated in Buckeyethon, the 24 hour dance marathon that helps raise money for Nationwide Children’s hospital. I participated in the fundraising before the dance marathon, and raised about 500 dollars to help with the fight against pediatric cancer. I had 4 hours of service at the actual dance marathon that consisted of participating at rave hour and dancing with some of the children on our orange team in the silent disco. Buckeyethon was by far one of my favorite service opportunities for this semester and I hope to be able to participate in the entirety of the event next year. Through our volunteer efforts we raised over a million dollars for the kids going through cancer treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Another volunteer activity that I participated in was the Dunn Dash indoor triathlon. This was a 6 hour service At the triathlon we were split up into different groups to help with either the run, bike, or swim portions of the event. I was stationed with the bikes where we were in charge of cleaning off the equipment, recording miles completed, and cheering on the participants. It was our jobs to make the time that the participants were on the bikes more exciting since it was mostly a stationary event. I was able to meet and interact with so many new people and learn about them just by helping them through this part of the event. It was also beneficial to be able to help out with this event because of the Recreation Sports staff the were participating in the event that we interacted with. Getting to talk to them in a more personal environment made the department as a whole seem smaller and I have now been able to talk to them a few more times since then because of the relationship that we began to develop at this event. This was an important event because the money that we raised at this event is money that will go directly back in to Dunn Scholars to help fund programs int he future.
A majority of my service hours this semester came from the 18 hours that I volunteered for Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals. From being on the Club Powerlifting team I had the opportunity to help host the largest powerlifting meet ever as well compete against lifters from schools all across the nation. As a host for this meet there were many volunteer positions that needed to be filled to help but the meet on. The first day of the event consisted of 5 hours of unloading supplies, putting together equipment, and setting up the whole meet. The second day was 9 hours of athlete check-in. At athlete check-in we helped to check collegiate eligibility as well as check in athletes to give them their bags and name tags for the weekend. This was the most rewarding part of the weekend because at this station I was able to meet so many different athletes for diverse communities. The final day I checked in coaches and sold admissions tickets to spectators. For me volunteering was the most important part of the weekend because if it had not been for people volunteering their time and effort we would not have been able to put on such a large, successful meet.
Service learning general has taught me how important it is to get involved in my community to help others. If it were not for volunteers there are many events that would not be able to be put on. Service learning also helps to put an emphasis on putting others first because you never know how small acts of kindness and generosity can impact the larger community. Many people rely solely on other people because they are unable to provide for themselves for a whole host of reasons. For example, if it were not for philanthropies like Buckeyethon there would be many more children and families at Nationwide suffering and burdened by a cancer diagnosis. I have had people close to me go through the same thing and know what it is like to not know where to turn for relief. It is because of the selflessness of others that they are able to sleep soundly knowing that parts of their worry are being taken care of.
This semester I engaged in multiple service learning, volunteer opportunities both within and outside of DSWS activities. Outside of DSWS I participated in Community Commitment as a part of Welcome Week. My group was assigned to Goodwill and participated in 5 hours of volunteering. While assigned at Goodwill we provided help by taking out clothes that were no longer in season and moving them to the storage facility in the back. We also took in season clothing and arranged them by size on new racks that we put together to make it easier for shoppers to find the items they are looking for. The Goodwill that we were stationed at had also just received some large donations of different types of books. We were put in charge of sorting the books by age group and neatly putting the books on the shelves where they belong. Overall, our mission was to move items around and put them away in order for shoppers to better find what they are looking for, and make the store look better put together. As Goodwill relies on volunteers to help in the stores that way they have less paid employees to keep the costs down, it was important for such a large group of us to go volunteer in their store and complete tasks that would have taken their employees much longer to do. By us going in and helping them they could focus on other tasks within the store.
Another activity that I participated in was Pack Shack, which was 3 hours of packing dry, bagged meals to be shipped to food banks throughout Ohio. Our group was put on measuring the already filled bags and then sealing them in to be boxed for shipping. This particular volunteering opportunity supplied food to those that may not have a reliable source of food or ways to prepare and save fresh food. As a whole we were responsible for packing 100,000 meals for the foodbank in just a few hours that would have taken volunteers probably days to complete. By volunteering for this event we were able to quickly prepare meals for to help people in Ohio from going hungry and taking the burden off of employees. It was nice that at this event a whole group of DSWS people went together so we could work at the station together and talk to each other while we were working.
The Columbus Marathon was my favorite volunteering opportunity because we were able to interact with so many different people. The Columbus Marathon through Nationwide Children’s Hospital consisted of 6 hours of service that included setting up water and Gatorade stations and then passing them out to the runners. The best part about volunteering for the marathon was being able to cheer on the runners as they passed our water station. I have always been involved in sports and competitions so I understand how uplifting it is to have someone cheering you on so it was cool to be able to provide the encouragement to the people running. Given the water station that we were at people were only a little over half way so it was important for us to help them so they had the energy to keep running. This is an event that I anticipate on participating in again in the future, especially because of the atmosphere and then having the chance to listen to the director talk at the meeting after the event.
I also participated in the DSWS Day of Service this semester for 5 hours of service as well. For this event my group was assigned to the Columbus Dream Center. The Dream Center is an organization that provides meals, clothing, supplies, and services such as laundry and showers for homeless or underprivileged individuals and families in the Columbus area. While at the Dream Center we were split into three different groups to prepare for their Thanksgiving dinner event for the community. I was in their donation room sorting socks, hanging and sorting coats, and preparing hygiene bags to be given out to those that were in need when they came into the center. They mostly need us there in order to organize their closet of donations in order to keep up with the supply that they had. This was a job that would have taken the few employees that they had much longer to complete than the group of us that were doing it. After we cleaned up the Dream Center location, we walked around the neighborhoods surrounding the center passing out flyers to advertise for the Thanksgiving dinner event that they were hosting. By passing out flyers were were making people aware of the event that they were holding so they could get a hot, cooked meal.
Service learning has taught me how to better serve my community and be an advocate for change. The biggest thing that it taught me was to be aware of what I have. So many of the places that I volunteered at served an underprivileged community in the Columbus community. At the places that I volunteered I saw that people were donating clothing and other items that they had obviously paid a large amount of money for. Seeing this made me appreciate what I have because there are people that do not have the same opportunities that I do. It also showed me that there are certain items like socks or a winter coat that we take advantage of. These are items that I do not think about not having because I have never faced that trouble, but there are people that do not have these things and rely on the donations of others to be prepared. This taught me that as a leader it is important to not judge people before you get to know them because you never know their background or what they might be going through. It also taught me that being a leader means that you must be an advocate for everyone, including those that are different from you, as well as being an advocate for diversity and inclusion.
True Colors is a test that looks into your personality type, and how that correlates to your leadership style. The quiz itself has you look at different lists of words and rank them from one to four based on you own natural tendency. It is easier to look into your own natural tendencies if you try and apply the words to a specific situation. One all the lists are ranked, then the person taking the test will add up their numbers to determine the totals in all color categories. One the totals have been calculated, you can look at the colors, either gold, blue, orange, or green, and determine which leadership style you most exemplify. Some might not have one color that they definitively fit into, but rather show characteristics from a couple of the different categories. All of the colors are defined based on certain characteristics that people within that color share. For example, orange is known for taking risks and being spontaneous, and blue is the one that values close relationships and it more empathetic towards others. On the other hand, gold values organization and planning, whereas green strives for education and continuing to learn. As for me, I fit comfortably into two groups but lacked in the other two dramatically. Specifically, I was strongly gold and green but lacked in orange and blue. This means that I am very analytically minded and enjoy having a plan, but also am constantly striving to gain more knowledge. I am organized and procedural, but lack in spontaneity and communicating with others. The important aspect of this assignment was the idea that all colors of leaders work together and balance each other out. Group projects are most beneficial and successful when the colors can feed off of each other’s ideas adn leadership styles.
Leadership is being able to apply your life experiences to different situations and help others grow. This includes being willing to make yourself uncomfortable in order to help others thrive. Sports are a great example of leadership because there are always people on any given team that have the ability to move their team and change their mindset. The Super Bowl from two years ago with the Falcons and the Patriots is a great example of leadership. The Patriots went into halftime down by a large margin and they could have easily given up and stopped playing all together. Instead of coming out for the second half distraught and losing their motivation they had players on their team that helped to encourage others and promote a positive environment which allowed the team to focus their negative energy into something positive that ultimately proved well for them. At these football games the camera always shows not only the people on the field but also the players on the sideline, because body language and how one reacts when the spotlight is not nessecarily on them shows a lot about their character and ability to lead by example. Many great leaders that people look up to come in the form of athletes because of the positive environment and community that is fostered in a team environment.
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