Exactly three weeks ago I was living in a small town called Bigwa in Tanzania, Africa with around 12 other students from Rosemount , Chestnut Hill College, and Marywood. We spent our days in the Bigwa school for girls, facilitating classes that would hopefully help them with their English. It was not until my 4th night at the Bigwa school that I realized that I was half way around the world serving others. These girls were absolutley amazing in many ways. I experienced true service learning where I was serving these girls with their English skills and they were serving me with their love for life and passion for religion. I did not feel as though I was comming to their country to help “them” but rather visiting friends where we were helping each other. I climbed a mountain, went on a safari, stayed up late under the beautiful clear sky. All these moments brought me closer to being passionate about life and enjoying time. These memories and the experiences I had will never fade away. The pictures will rest in a memory book where I plan on looking back and reflecting on time to time.
A couple of months ago I had the privilege to chaperone an overnight basketball tournament at a local high school which was held to celebrate 40 years of raising money to fight Leukemia. The fact that this high school has been raising money to fight this disease for forty years is very impressive. However, simply raising money was not the only reason for the overnight tournament. Historically, the tournament was held overnight and 24 hours of basketball was played. Teams paid money to participate, and local sponsors paid money to support the marathon. However, as time passed and times changed, the overnight aspect of the tournament faded in popularity. More recently the tournament has been shortened to twelve hours, lasting an entire day. This year, in honor of the fortieth anniversary of this tournament, it was returned to the original twenty-four hours. During the first 6 hours of the tournament, alums of the school as well as family and friends of the students stopped by in support of the cause. One of the people who stopped by was the Philly Phanatic, who was more than happy to take pictures with the students, and anyone who was there. IU was unfortunate enough to ask someone’s mother who had never used a camera phone to take my picture; hence it came out blurry because she moved. I didn’t mind though. After all, I was there for the students, the Phanatic and food were added bonuses. While doing service, it is not uncommon to meet some pretty special people. I’m not saying there is a major sports team mascot at every place we do service, I am saying that there is someone special there; it’s just up to us to recognize and appreciate this person.
As graduation approaches, I look for opportunities for me to do after graduation. Of course, I have been applying for different jobs, but I have also been looking into service organizations, such as City Year.
However, another organization that struck my interest is ProWorld, which aims to serve abroad in different countries with poor conditions. If you are interested in traveling abroad, and love to do service, this organization (as well as the Peace Corps) may work well for you.
Here is the link:
Earth Day this year is April 22nd and in the spirit of Earth Day, here are some different service opportunites that will not only help your local community but the environment as well!
1. Recylcing: If there isn’t a recylcing program started in your neighborhood or college campus, get information to start it up because that is the easiet way to help the environment.
Community Clean-Up: Parks, Rivers, Streets, etc; these are all great places to hold a community clean-up. It not only helps the environment but makes the neighborhood look better as well and the better the neighborhood looks, the better people will feel.
Gardening: If there are any vacant lots or open spaces that could benefit from some color or just a little sunshine, consider planting a flower garden. Or even create a community garden where people can grow vegetables, herbs, etc to share with the rest of the group.
These are just three simple ways to volunteer and help the environment. There are tons more out there on the internet and in diferent places around the community. So this Earth Day, get out and volunteer!
As the school year draws to a close and students start studying for fianls and finishing up final papers, the one thing on everyone’s mind is definitely SUMMER :) How do you plan on spending your summer? Soaking up some sun on the beach? Taking a roadtrip? Working a summer job? Whatever you are doing this summer, why not take some time out to do service? Service doesn’t have to end when the school year does. Here are some links to different summer community service opportunites I found:
And the opportunites don’t have to be limited to what is linked here, I’m sure there are volunteer opportunites in your hometown as well. Wherever you are this summer, be sure to make some time for service because one person can make a difference when you work for a good cause, even if it’s small.
The article linked above lays out the ban on outdoor feeding of the homeless, noting that Mayor Nutter says the ban is so the feedings will be safer and the food will be better but not everyone agrees. Some groups are saying that the real reason that Mayor is imposing the ban is to get homeless people out of the nicer places in Philadelphia that are high traffic areas for tourists, especially right around the Ben Franklin Parkway, where the new Barnes museum is set to open soon. From everything I have read I have to agree with the activist groups. It may not be just because he wants to move the homeless from the frequently visited tourist areas but Mayor Nutter can not deny that that isn’t at least part of the reason why he is enacting the ban.
Easter is a time of celebration for all Christians that many times highlight events such as going to church, eating, spending time with family, and enjoying the company of others. One small town teen in Wolmosdorf PA decided to spend her Easter dressing up as the Easter bunny and giving and egg to all the children that would pass by her. She believes that all children should get to experience the gift giving of an Easter egg. The egg represents her kindness and love for others and her willing to share. The egg is beautifully decorated with symbols, and artworks that truly come from the heart. Sure, no Picasso is needed to color an egg but the deciding of colors, designs, etc require creativity and thought. The egg is then given or hunted for as a gift to others. This love is shared through the nature of the egg during Easter. The small town teen loves devoting her energy to helping all children put that smile on their face as a colorful and beautifully designed egg is placed in their small hands. Share your love this Easter!!!!