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Acting Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Profiles in Service
Graduation Year: 2012
Major: Human Development
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?
I taught English to a packed room of Vietnamese women for a semester. I also did a winter term trip to an orphanage in Malawi Africa, also teaching English and giving HIV/Aids presentations in small villages. I served in Cuba for my Spring Break senior year getting to know the native culture and getting supplies to people in need. I attended a nationwide protest of the Key Stone Pipeline in Washington D.C, as well as worked for different organizations such as P.A.R.C and Lealman community center for different benefits, yard sales and special events.
In what ways did your service experience change you or cause a transformation in your thinking, values or degree/career choice?
Doing service is such an integral part of stepping out of the privileged classroom experience and really understanding the global situation, and the world beyond the Eckerd campus. Having this broader understanding greatly affected my attitude towards studying. I came to understand I have an extremely fortunate life situation with my education and I didn't want to waste a minute of it. Meeting and interacting with such a diverse group of people during my travels gave me much more food for thought and life experience. These experiences allowed me to actively engage in social, cultural and global change conversations both in and out of the classroom. No one can come back untouched in some way from service learning experiences.
Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.
My most important service while at Eckerd was volunteering at the Lealman Asian Community Center teaching English classes twice a week. It was difficult to come up with agendas that would suit such a broad range of language comprehension; the class had fluent speakers to women struggling to say hi. But I will never forget how much it meant to these women that I came and how sweet and welcoming my cultural experience was with them. I could really see that the service I was providing was giving this group a better life directly. They were already living in Florida, but any grasp on the language they could get, the more mobile and free their lives could be. It was truly a meaningful and rich experience for me.
What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?
Donate a small part of your time to service learning and you will get ten-fold back. Seeing how others live, what others need, and getting in there and trying, makes classroom experiences just blossom and will most likely make you a more well rounded, empathetic and intelligent global citizen.