On October 13, 2012, I was happy to participate in the largest Down Syndrome awareness event in the Central Valley. The event is a huge effort to not only bring awareness, but also fundraise money for all the programs and services the Down Syndrome Association of Central California provides.
The event took place in Hoover High School, and it worked similarly to walk-a-thons: you pay a small registration fee, get an awesome, free T-shirt, and then you just show up to the event to walk in support of the cause. There are some unique things about this event that made it even more fun. For example, during the walk I got to see the Step Up Walk of Fame! poster section. These posters had several pictures of beautiful children with Down syndrome shown as superstars for all to see. After the walk, there were performances by people with Down Syndrome, and it became a place of celebration. There was food, live music, and a lot of lively people that were happy to be there.
This was my first time participating in Step Up for Down Syndrome, and I was happy to see various Fresno State students come to Hoover High School and support the cause. I would like to propose a challenge, and have Fresno State break the event’s record of attendance of 1,500 people next year. Can we do it?
We serve because we want to trade in our time, money, and talents for the knowledge and satisfaction that someone’s life was bettered because of our gifts. We want to share what we have to make a difference to get some warm fuzzies. Many of us want to give back to our community and impact the area that has impacted us, creating a local service focus. Our country, our state, and our city are all far from perfect, and it is very understandable and very noble for individuals to want to direct their efforts to create improvements in these areas. It is a common sentiment that we need to fix our country before we can begin to think about giving globally. While I wholeheartedly support, encourage, and participate in local service, I also want to encourage people to zoom out a little bit and take a look at the bigger picture. Local service and global service do not have to be mutually exclusive, being involved in both offers wonderful experiences and multiplies the possibilities for meaningful change.
We are constantly reminded of all of the problems our local areas have ranging from poverty to poor health care to pollution. While these issues do exist and are important, it is also important to take note that compared to many areas of the world we are incredibly blessed. Being an American is such a beautiful privilege as we have the freedom to sustain our own beliefs and the opportunity to pursue them. Sure, we are far from a utopia, but we are certainly much closer than other parts of the world. Whether you believe it was luck or a divine act that got you to this country, it is something that should not be taken for granted for it is important to remember that we all could have just as easily been born into a third world society. I say this not to impose guilt or a sense of obligation, but rather as a reminder that we all have been granted with an incredible opportunity. We have been given an ability to give that is larger than most. This is a gift that allows us to help both our local neighbors and our neighbors around the world if we so chose. So next time you are considering where to serve or give, don’t rule out the global community. Your impact will still be felt and you can still get warm fuzzies even from across the globe.
Here are some neat global service organizations to check out:
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” -Mother Teresa
This quote has always stuck out at me in regards to service. Many people believe that their service goes unnoticed. They believe that they really can’t make a difference. It is true: somebody can’t do everything, but everybody can do something. With the combined efforts of all volunteers, change begins to emerge. Volunteering is never a wasted effort. If more people were to volunteer, the impact on our city, nation, and world would increase. Teamwork is what leads us to greater change and a better community. By working together, change can happen, and quickly! Get involved in your community and see the impact that it has. Encourage friends and family to participate with you!
You all know that quote that says, “Hard work pays off?” Well its true!!! About two years ago in the spring, seven other Fresno State students and I were busy shoveling compost, picking out weeds, using electrical drills to build plantar boxes, shoveling trenches, and installing an irrigation system. Yes, it was hard work that kept us busy for four days during our spring break, but it was for Fresno State’s annual Alternative Spring Break. Essentially the Alternative Spring Break program does what its name says. It provides students with an opportunity to do something different, or an alternative to what they regularly do for Spring Break. In the spring of 2011 there were two different groups working and providing service at two different sites: one at Sierra Foothills Conservancy building trails and the other at Alluvial Community Garden working around their property and building their first seven plantar boxes.
As team leader of the Alluvial Community Garden project for ASB 2011 with the help of staff at Alluvial Community Garden and staff from Fresno State, I had the opportunity to lead a group of seven Fresno State students and help the garden with the building of their first seven plantar boxes. At the end of the four days the whole group accomplished a lot. We completed all the assignments of the project on time like professionals. The outcomes of that year’s ASB were great! By providing community service for the four days, we helped the garden get started and lay its foundation to work on it’s mission to “provide access to an organic community garden space which facilitate growing food, offering education opportunity promoting therapeutic recreation and building community for residents of the Fresno/Clovis area.”
Now almost two years later it makes me so happy to see those plantar boxes being used by people in the community. As I look at the pictures of the plots overfilled with fresh fruits and vegetables, I think back and reflect on those four days filled with tasks of drilling frames of cedar wood together, shoveling sand, and pulling weeds, and I say to myself, “Paulina it was all worth it!”
I hope you can see that hard work does pay off!
For more info, check out the garden’s website here
During my freshman year in high school, I knew I wanted to serve the community somehow, but I did not exactly know what steps to take. There were so many questions that I always thought about that made me nervous about serving.
Two of the major questions were:
1. How do I find the perfect place to serve?
2. If I find a place I want to serve, whom do I contact?
I am here to help you answer these questions!
In order to find the perfect place to serve, you must think about some things you like to do! Do you like playing with your younger siblings or interacting with your grandparents? Do you enjoy working in the yard or cleaning up around your house? Do you like a certain subject in school? Do you know what you would like to do as a profession? Write a list of three to five things that you enjoy doing.
Once you have completed your list, it is time to find an organization that deals with some of the things you enjoy. There are hundreds of different ways to serve the Fresno community! Click on the below to see a few of them and to find one or maybe even two that deal with the things you wrote down on your list.
When you think you have found a community service opportunity that best suits you, send the Richter Center Ambassadors an email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (559) 278-7079. We will be more than happy to help you contact an community service organization that you think you will enjoy J If you still have questions about a certain volunteer opportunity or still do not know the perfect place to serve, we will definitely answer all your questions and help you find the right place!
I hope that these 3 steps make it easy for you to find a way to serve the Fresno community!
Well, it’s easier and more convenient than you think…Make a Difference Day is happening Saturday, October 27, 2012! From 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., you can help by volunteering at one of three different sites:
Help decorate Rotary Storyland and Playland. They are holding a Spooktacular Event for kids, and you can help with decoration, set-up, and assist at the event.
Help restore Romain Park. You can help keep the park clean and safe for the community.
Or build trails at Sierra Foothill Conservancy. Get out into nature and help preserve the natural beauty of Fresno.
To provide some testimony, I believe Make a Difference Day is a good way to have fun with friends, meet new ones, and help restore pride in Fresno. As a member of the S.E.R.V.E. Committee (Student Experience for Richter Volunteer Events), I can ensure this will be fun service that will be beneficial to both our community and you!
The Ambassador team is back and stronger than ever! We are excited for all that this fall will bring for our campus and our community. We have many awesome service opportunities, events, and posts coming up, so make sure to keep an eye on our blog!
When the word “genocide” is uttered, most people, including myself, automatically think of brutal crimes from years past that we only read about in history books. Shockingly, this act continues to take place even today in various locations around the globe, such as Darfur, Sudan.
Do you find this devastating? Would you like to get more information and help put a stop to this destruction? In an effort to raise awareness about the Darfur Genocide, USU Productions is hosting Camp Darfur, a traveling display of tents representing six different genocides, on campus Monday, March 5. The event starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. Survivors and relatives of survivors of past genocides will speak between noon and 1 p.m. Come by the Memorial Court, south of the Kennel Bookstore, and check it out. Make sure to stop by the Richter Center Ambassadors’ Advocacy table and learn what you can do to help stop this destruction.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
– Woodrow Wilson
Service doesn’t have to be something you just do because you are required to. It can be something you volunteer to do on weekends, something you do because it makes you happy. I know what you’re thinking. Why would you do service on weekends when you have so many better things you could do with your time, right? Why would it ever make you happy to do service? What’s in it for you?
Now, this is where I think President Wilson’s words come into play. When we do service, we’re not just completing a task; we’re doing something that directly impacts people, something that helps them in their everyday lives and spreads the spirit of sharing what we have with others. And who doesn’t like to see other people happy? They say smiles are contagious. Making someone smile by giving a few hours of your time really will make you smile, too. Here at the Richter Center, we call it the “warm fuzzies,” the feeling of happiness you get by making a difference.
In the words of President Wilson, “You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” So go out and volunteer. If you don’t know where to volunteer, you can always come on into the Richter Center and we’ll help you find an organization that suits your needs. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make the world a little brighter.