On Saturday, October 24th, I volunteered at Make a Difference Day, which was planned and hosted by the SERVE committee, another Richter’s Center Student Leader group in charge of organizing the many different one-day service events through Fresno State. I woke up early, walked down to the school, and checked-in to the location with all the other volunteers that were set to serve that day – all before 8AM. The task of the day was planting trees around various locations on campus. We got an extremely thorough introduction to how to plant a tree from the grounds maintenance team of Fresno State, who demonstrated step-by-step the process needed to bring a tree to life.

Ambassador Jove (seated right) having fun with his fellow volunteers on Make a Difference Day.

First, the hole must be dug using shovels. It must be wide enough for the base of the tree to expand and deep enough to cover the soil base of the tree. The base must be broken up prior to insertion in order for the roots to spread. Once the hole had been dug, the tree could be set inside the dug-up hole. The soil was then able to be returned to the area which covered the base of the tree. At the halfway mark, the volunteers were instructed to place a few fertilizer tabs around the soil to assist in the growing process. Once the hole was filled, a soil barrier was placed along the outside edge of the circle to protect and house the water as it is initially watered. Finally, stakes were hammered into the soil using a stake hammer, and were tied to the tree using fasteners to hold the tree together and prevent the tree from unnecessary movements.

After some reflection on this service experience, I thought of the different ways this project had affected me and had helped me grow as an individual. It was fortunate for our volunteer group to have the opportunity to have a specialized team of landscape specialists guide our service group step-by-step and show the process of planting a tree; they were available to answer any questions and were helpful throughout the day. At the end of the service event, I was excited that I learned a new skill. I am confident that if I am ever thrust into a situation where I am required to plant a tree, I can go through the steps taught to me during Make a Difference Day to successfully complete the task.

Service was able to teach me how to complete a task I never thought I would have to do. Community service is powerful in many different ways to not only the community but to the volunteers themselves, and it has the potential to be a powerful instructor as well. Life is all about trying new things and learning as many different things as possible, and community service serves as a viable avenue for acquiring new assets. If you have not served before, service can be an enriching experience for not only personal growth and development, but for enhancing your skill sets too.

If you have served, what new skills have you learned while volunteering?

-Ambassador Jove

Psst…Serving Fresno Day, which is similar to Make a Difference Day, is right around the corner on November 21st.  Consider registering to volunteer and learn some skills just like Jove did.