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Acting Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Profiles in Service
Felicity Noel Keeley
Boca Raton, FL
Graduation Year: 2009
Major: Interdisciplinary Art
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?
I made sure to take advantage of a lot of the service and volunteer opportunities that were offered to me at Eckerd. I was heavily involved with the Women's Resource Center, especially with making Take Back the Night an annual event. I went on three service learning spring breaks, co-leading two of them. I was very involved with Coalition for Community Justice, especially my senior year making strides and talking with the administration. I involved myself with any type of clean-up or service outing, and frequently volunteered with Eckerd College Homeless Outreach. I served on ECOS during my Junior year. And, I was a frequent visitor to the Office of Service Learning!
In what ways did your service experience change you or cause a transformation in your thinking, values or degree/career choice?
I was always very service minded, even before I came to Eckerd, but by doing service learning at Eckerd I learned about being an activist and doing something about injustice. My first two jobs out of Eckerd focused on the community and service learning. I was the Service Learning Intern from 2009-2010. After that I joined City Year and worked as a Team Leader in an inner-city school in Miami from 2010-2011. Now, I am constantly finding ways to incorporate giving into my current job and my life. When I started having a more corporate job I decided to do a Thanksgiving food drive for low-income families in Miami and also raise money and gifts so those without family or means could have a warm Christmas holiday. Service will always be a part of me and thanks to many of my classes, professors, extra-curriculars, and the friends I made through all of it, I will always seek justice and service wherever I am in life. It makes life worthwhile.
Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.
The Coalition for Community Justice held a sit-in at the President's Office advocating for a living wage and actual benefits for the housekeepers at Eckerd. I feel this was so significant because of the impact on such a wide level. We were doing a march and a sit-in, practicing the non-violence ways of the justice leaders who came before us, fighting for something greater than ourselves; the well-being of the Eckerd housekeepers and their families. And we were bringing awareness to the campus, showing that this isn't just something we learn in the classrooms, it's something that we do every day. It was amazing being there that day and standing up to the word "no" for the right reasons.
If you are a graduate, what sort of service do you now do?
My main focus in the past year has been fundraising for those in-need. Thanksgiving 2011 I raised about $500 in food and monetary contributions to make a better Thanksgiving for 14 families. There was enough left over that the school the children came from were able to give families items for Christmas as well. I also did a huge fundraiser during Christmas 2011 and raised a little over $1,000 to make sure that three specific groups - migrant families, elderly in nursing homes, and the homeless - would have a warm Christmas. I plan to continue these efforts and create a non-profit specific to fundraising and cause-awareness. I am also on the City Year Miami Alumni Board where we engage alumni, current volunteers and create volunteer opportunities.
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.
A co-worker and friend of mine has a child with down syndrome. She has been going to an activist class called Partners in Policy Making paid for by FL Developmental Disabilities Council to help interested individuals become advocates and make a difference for those with disabilities. She was telling me how people with different abilities used to be made sterile and that the language used has gone from negative to now more positive and inclusive. Through talking to her at work and during our free time, I was made more aware of how there is still so much injustice in the world. Just by changing your language you can help. It also made me want to learn more about policy making. A social problem can often times find relief by someone making a law or a policy, like inclusion in the classroom for those with different abilities. It opened up my mind that service isn't just something that you do with your hands, but something you can do every day by educating someone or writing to your state representative. It takes many different ways to achieve justice.
What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?
Do as much as you can! There are so many resources available at Eckerd. Learn how to organize an event or organize volunteers for a service opportunity. Think about what skills you are good at and how you can give back just by being you. Get involved across campus and anything is possible. You never know how you might inspire someone else.