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Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Profiles in Service
Graduation Year: 2014
Major: Marine Science, Psychology
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?
I first became involved with service my freshman year living in Gamma Knox, the community service dorm. During Autumn Term I did Into the Streets, which is a really great way to get started doing service. Being together under the hot Florida sun brought me together with my classmates.The following year I was a service coordinator for Knox, which allowed me to lead a trip to Indian Key to clean the mangroves and help create those same memories for the new students. Seeing the looks on their faces after I told them they could not shower before the group dinner was priceless. I have led several service trips and hope to be leading more in my remaining two years at Eckerd. I am also involved with E.C.H.O (Eckerd College Homeless Outreach) and EC-SAR (Eckerd College Search and Rescue).
In what ways did your service experience change you or cause a transformation in your thinking, values or degree/career choice?
My service experience at Eckerd has impacted me in a variety of ways. It has made me become more aware of my surroundings, as well as those that are less fortunate than me. Service has also made me aware of the importance of helping the environment. It may just be picking up trash, but that piece of trash may be the difference for an endangered species living or dying. That piece of trash removed may mean that a family in another country will have cleaner drinking water one day. It is a team effort, but each individual can have an impact. I am currently interning for a non-profit organization and I am able to see the importance of service from a different perspective. The community plays a huge role in the functioning of this organization and I hope that one day I can start a non-profit organization that does the same.
Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.
Volunteering at Give Kids the World in Orlando was the most thought provoking service experience I've had. Give Kids the World is a resort for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It is truly a magical place. They are there to do what they can to make every trip perfect for every family that comes into the village. They have the ability to have children there over night so that they can have those last happy memories with their family. Seeing the happiness in the kids eyes while they are go through so much made me so grateful not just for my health, but for everything.
I was lucky enough to lead a spring break trip there with 10 other students and during that time it was incredible to get to know the families staying there during that week. I still remember the joy in a father's eyes when he showed me the video of his child swimming with a dolphin. He then continued to tell me that it was the first time he saw his son smile in a long time and would probably be the last. Another strong memory was the time a mother started crying because I was able to help put her child's wheelchair on the Merry-go-Round. Her daughter had never been able to go on rides because she had too many medical devices, but this was not the case at Give Kids the World. The mother was so thankful and at the end they included me in their family picture. It is moments such as those that keep me involved in service, the moments when I realize and I'm reminded how important service is to the community.
Service and justice are two topics that can generate stimulating thought and discussion. Describe a time, event or interaction that really engaged your thoughts on service and justice.
My favorite time to discuss service is right after the trips. I remember after the Knox retreats we would have the best service discussions. To be able to hear everyone's opinions and take on what we had just done was always great because everyone was impacted in a different way. The service discussions were a great way to learn the view points of others.
What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?
The one thing that I would tell current or entering Eckerd students is to participate, don't let all of the great service opportunities pass by you. You can learn a lot from those around you, not to mention I met some of my closet friends at Eckerd through service learning.