Travel Log 12 “Service” by Samantha Prevot. Notting Hill, London, England.

When I found out that one of the requirements for this class was to do community service in my new city, I immediately thought back to my days in Hebrew school when we often took trips to do community service work. In the Jewish faith there is a phrase “tikkun olam” which can be translated as “repairing the world”. So in Hebrew school, part of our learning and religious experience was to try to follow the values of tikkun olam by doing acts of kindness and community service such as planting trees and volunteering at a homeless shelter. Since having my Bat Mitzvah and becoming less heavily involved in my temple community, I haven’t done much volunteering and I have always regretted this. Especially following Hurricane Sandy and the destruction that hit my town, so many kind volunteers helped us get back on our feet and I longed for that satisfying feeling of helping those in need.

So as I began searching for places in London where I could volunteer, I tried to find a homeless shelter, as that was one of my favorite volunteering experiences from Hebrew school and unfortunately I have seen a fair amount of homeless people as I have walked the streets these past few months. However, I came to find that many organizations want volunteers to make a commitment of weeks or even months, and so finding a place where I could volunteer for one shift only was somewhat difficult. But then I came across Shelter From The Storm and everything fell into place. imgres.pngShelter From The Storm is a free homeless shelter in London’s borough of Islington, and is funded purely by donations. Their mission statement says, “Our mission is to house and support the homeless in London whoever they are, wherever they come from. Our vision is of a society where charities like Shelter from the Storm are no longer necessary.” They work to achieve this goal through providing housing solutions for guests that become involved with the program as well as helping provide meals, employment, healthcare, and counseling. Each guest at the shelter is required to come back every night in time for dinner and check in with the volunteer staff to make sure they are marked present. Once they arrive for the night they must stay until the following morning and are provided with beds in gender separated dorms, toiletries, showers, laundry services, as well as dinner, breakfast, and even sandwiches and small salads from a local chain called Pret a Manger to take away for lunch. The guests and volunteers have a very respectful, friendly relationship and that’s what I think helps the model work so well.

I would have preferred most to do a dinnertime shift at the shelter, but they only had spots open for overnight shifts and so I stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted it. I arrived at 8:30pm and stayed awake until midnight helping give out the last few meals, cleaning up the kitchen, and watching the doors to make sure there weren’t too many guests going outside to smoke cigarettes. After we turned the lights out at midnight and the guests were in their dorms, it was decided that myself and the other two volunteers would take shifts being awake and I was given the last one (4:00am – 6:00am) and so I got a few hours to sleep inside the office. The rest of the night was relatively uneventful and in the morning the three of us helped set up breakfast and put out the lunches from Pret, and we also washed dishes from the night before. It may seem like I didn’t do much or that what I did was “easy” but for me it was a truly insightful experience that lit a fire in me that I had left burnt out for some time. Seeing the more experienced volunteers interacting with the guests and seeing the relationships they had formed was inspiring. Homelessness does not make a person less important than those who are privileged enough to have a roof over their heads and proper meals, healthcare, etc. Everyone deserves a chance to get back on their feet and find a new job and a new place to live. Everyone deserves a chance at a good life, and this is the message Shelter From The Storm tries to convey through their work.

The photo I chose to convey the message of volunteering is two hands reaching out to grab one another. When people are in need and are calling out for help, even if it’s not always directly, we have to take their hand and give them the help they need. Richard Slimbach says, “The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful7f25b399efa112b0fcdbadb8ed61d1b5_pics-about-space-clipart-hand-reaching-out_800-533.jpeg and mutually beneficial relationships.” Just like taking an overnight shift was me stepping out of my comfort zone, just volunteering in general is a step out of most people’s comfort zones. Unfortunately, there are some negative stereotypes associated with people who “occupy the margins of society” and people become afraid to help. But if we become involved and see that those people do not follow those stereotypes, we can begin to form bonds of respect and maybe even friendship, just like the volunteers and guests at SFTS have done. It’s through these bonds that we can help them make better lives for themselves by helping them get jobs and have a place to sleep at night, and they can help us by showing us the benefits of volunteering, and maybe teaching us a bit about ourselves and the word. All we have to do is reach out and grab the hands that are reaching out to us.

This connects to our definition of Global Community, because through volunteering we are “fighting for similar social values and basic rights” such as the right to shelter and the right to eat a decent meal. I think volunteering in London was very beneficial to me because it made me feel like I was more than just a passive global citizen just traveling in Europe, having fun and going to school. By volunteering, I became an active member of the community, trying to make a difference in my temporary home instead of just taking in the sights and taking photos that I can post on social media for my family and friends. It’s almost as though I’m leaving more of a mark on London than I would have if I didn’t do any volunteering. It’s a memory that I will keep with me and try to pass the importance and impact of volunteering onto other people who will study abroad in the future. This experience has also reignited those values of tikkun olam that I had left behind somewhere along the way when I was younger. I had forgotten how good a person could feel after helping others, and how even doing one small thing like a single shift a week can truly make a difference. I hope that I will stay inspired as I return home to the United States and I will try to find volunteer work that I can do in my hometown, or in New York City in general, this summer and when I return home from Quinnipiac for breaks. As a more active member of the Global Community, I can do my part in repairing the world.

 

(If you would like more information about Shelter From The Storm, you can visit their website http://www.sfts.org.uk)

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Travel Log 12:”Service” By Alexandra Borges. Cardiff, Wales

Unfortunately because of restrictions, I was unable to participate in a community service events, however I was able to interview a member of one of the organizations here in Cardiff that does service work. She is a first year that is part of the organization called Student Volunteering Cardiff, which is a registered charity here in Cardiff. It was formed by the merging of the Cardiff University Social Services (formed in 1969) and the Student Community Action (formed in 1971) in 2001. The Student Volunteering Cardiff allows the vision of the original student of both organizations to be carried on and will continue benefit future generations of the city.The Student Volunteering Cardiff organization has a plethora of projects ranging working with children and young people, in education, with people learning disabilities, with people with mental health, with homeless, helping environment and community, working with partner organizations, and many other opportunities.

Lucy, the member that I interviewed, is currently volunteering with the mental health project. When volunteering her and other volunteers go the hospital once a week to the mental health wards. Here, they chat with patients and play games with them, establishing a relationship with them. They talk to them first couple of weeks to build trust and bond with the patients, that way later on they are able to plan activities that the patients will feel comfortable participating in. I’ve asked Lucy what her experience has been thus far. She told me that she wasn’t completely new to working with mental health patients because she had done something similar to this type of volunteering before. However, she still expressed that it was still a little nerve wracking at first even though she knew what to expect. She said it was nerve wracking because when go and talk to these people you worry that they might not like you or might not be very responsive towards you. However, she said it has been going very well and plans to continue volunteering through SVC the remainder of her time here at Cardiff University. Lucy is a psychology student here at Cardiff University and expresses that by volunteering she gets to see and explore the different areas of mental health in connection to her studies. Ultimately, she says really loves volunteering to help these people, she wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I was really bummed that I couldn’t actually participate in any community service while abroad because back home I volunteer at my church whenever I can, it would have been an awesome experience. However, I can understand and relate to Lucy’s thoughts and feelings. Drawing from my past experiences, I can relate to Lucy’s experience.

Previously, I have helped/volunteered in many different projects, but feel that the experience that best matches Lucy’s would be my time at the Kennedy Donovan Center back home. I volunteered/helped at this facility, Kennedy Donovan Center, which was a school/ daycare for physically and mentally disabled children. I was very nervous my first time volunteering there, for fear that the children would not take kind to a stranger or me in general. However, my fears were put to ease at once, when they swarmed me and bestowed me with hand made cards. Just talking to them, reading to the, and even just giving them your attention is enough for them. They were absolutely precious and the experience was just eye opening, to see children with such incapacitations overcoming them with this overwhelming happiness. It makes you realize things you take for granted and also how much courage and strength they have. If going to visit and spend time with them raises their spirits then I’ll continue to do it. It was definitely an experience that I will never forget. I can’t begin to explain the feeling I get when I help people, I can’t describe it, you just feel good. There is a sense of gratification knowing that even if it’s just one person you have made, even if its small on the grand scheme of things, a difference. The benefit of this type of service to both sides

I think that when we discuss terms of community service and global community there is an automatic connection, its one of the most direct ways to enact a change in the world. I mean it literally is the essence of community, people joining together to help those in need or to help people in general. People often think that giving people something physical that they need is always the answer, but often listening to someone and raising their spirits has an even larger effect on the community. The benefit of the world’s future generations, are guaranteed through these selfless acts of community service. This is a major way to support the global community. I think from the things we have experienced abroad and the knowledge we have gained, whether through our experience or through the research we have done (i.e. Half Sky documentary, etc.), our class definition of global community has changed for the better.

“Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world–that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me– is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life”. – Albert Schweitzer

I think that this quote goes with this picture because it really captures the essence of a volunteer. They give of their time to and for others. They are truly gifted people not because there is anything special about them, but rather because they are filled with so much compassion and will to do good. The only thing to do then is to give of themselves to others. By this selfless act they save and encourage the community to follow in their footsteps, making them truly a gift. Giving without wanting or needing anything in return because it is simply the best way for them to show their appreciation for the Life all around them.

 

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Nicoline Lovisa Tegnell. Barcelona, Spain.

The community service event that I chose to participate in was one that was organized by the program that I am here with, API. API set up an opportunity for us to volunteer at a school as English teacher assistants. We were able to go into an English class and help the teacher as she taught an English class, we were even allowed to read some passages in English and to help with pronunciation of many words. The teacher explained to me how important it is for these Spanish students to learn English because it will help them so much both now and later on in life because  English is such a common language and a language that is spoken by almost everyone. For example, if these students travel to the Czech Republic and do not know how to speak Czech, they will communicate with the Czech people in English. At the school, English is required for students and I was very impressed with how well they were able to speak English. The experience that I had with these students was one that I will never forget. I felt like this added so much to my study abroad experience because I was so nervous before volunteering because I felt as if my Spanish was not very good but the students were so reassuring and even helped me with my Spanish while they were all learning English. The students were so excited to have me there and were so enthusiastic about learning English which made me so excited to be there and made me want to go back.

Since being here, I have noticed the Spanish people are much more openly touchy with each other. When greeting each other, everyone gives besos, or two kisses, one on each cheek. Even boys will greet other boys like this, which is very different from the United States because in the United States boys never show affection towards other boys because it can seem as being “weird” or almost “weak”. I like that people are so open about touching and greeting here because it is so much more personal and sweet. It makes me feel so welcome everywhere that I go. I definitely find myself adapting to being more openly touchy because before coming here I really did not like a lot of touching because I am a bit shy but I have really adapted to giving besos and have even learned to love it, I think many other students feel  the same way as well.

There are so many benefits that we all gain from volunteering, especially abroad. The most important benefit to me was the satisfaction I felt from volunteering. I felt such a sense of pride and importance, it felt nice being so appreciated by these students. I also felt like I learned more about the Spanish culture because I was able to see how a classroom was run in Spain and what students are like in classes as compared to American students. The classes were a lot more easy going I found than American classrooms. I also feel like volunteering abroad is beneficial because I gained language skills during this short experience. If I was able to volunteer on a weekly or biweekly basis, I think my language skills would improve tremendously. I also think if more people volunteered abroad this would help to eliminate so many stereotypes because people would be able to get such a deeper glance and perspective in the people of a certain country or area, which would go toward our class definition of being a Global community.

There are many things I will take from this experience. The first is how much I love volunteering and how much I think that everyone who travels abroad should take the time of out their trip to volunteer. This will give everyone a much less “touristy” experience and a much more deep felt experience because they will see so much more into the culture of the country they have entered into. Also, something I will take from this experience is how much I love helping people and how I know I am in the right major. Being a physician assistant will give me so many more opportunities to help people and opportunities to help people abroad which feels so good. The picture I have posted is one of me and Kristen, who also volunteered, in front of the school we volunteered at. This picture and experience reminds me of the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” I feel as if by serving, you become great because when you help other people you are doing the most important thing in the world that you can do.

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Kristen and I in front of the school we volunteered at. Fall2015.

Travel Log 12: Community Service, By Marc Capparelli. Perugia, Italia

I chose to volunteer at the Orsini’s agriturismo located in Passignano sul Trasimeno to assist the family with vendemmia, which is Italian for the grape harvest. For those that are not familiar with the term agriturismo, it is an Italian word (agrotourism in English) combining the words agriculture and tourism. The Orsini family gives foreigners from all over the world a chance to see a different side to the Italian life: those living on a farm and working the land. The Orsini family’s main products would be wine, olive oil, pastas, and even different types of beans. However, when I think of the Orsini’s, the local community doesn’t necessarily jump into my head. While the family makes Umbrian products, the only thing they do with them is sell them to the public. If anything, they strengthen what it means to be a family and work together. That being said, I feel that the Orsini family plays a large role in the global or international community. People from all over the world come to stay with the family to help them. When I went with a few students from the Umbra Institute, we all came together and joined hands with the Italians. They discussed things to us about how their typical day goes on the farm and what they do in certain parts of the wine producing phase. Additionally, we were able to practice our Italian with them. This experience was much earlier on in my study abroad trip, and so being able to listen to them speak as well ask try and speak back definitely helped in strengthening my basic Italian language skills. All in all, it was such a fun experience helping out picking grapes, talking to the Italians on the side of you or across from you in the vineyard, and enjoying a nice Italian lunch made by the family. This experience gets people from all over the world to achieve a common goal. That goal may not be human rights but this is something that brings us closer together. While this isn’t exactly like our definition of a global community and instead of rights our goal was ‘grapes’, I thought that was pretty cool that we all came together from different places and became a team.

Looking back on this experience, I always find it amazing how different life is for everyone. This family does this all year round, meeting people from all over the world and hearing different people’s stories. I’d imagine (and expect) that the Orsini family wholeheartedly loves what they do. It is such a simple, Italian way of life. It really made me think about how I have so many choices in life and that there are endless possibilities. I’ve met so many different types of people here in Perugia and they all have their own story. After this experience, I’ve wanted to get to know as many people as I can and hear what they have to say. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to live in another country for so long, so it’s important to me to make connections and hear about people’s lives while I still can. This is why Slimbach’s words mean so much to: “The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.” At home I’m more reserved, but in Perugia I like to establish relatiFB_IMG_1443373349620onships and talk to a lot of people. In this way, I step out of my comfort zone to create something special.

The picture I chose for this post is a funny one of a friend and myself on t
he vineyard. I am holding a near-perfect bunch of grapes while my friend smiles in the background. It was a fun time.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Jill Berlant; Perugia Italy

Last month it was harvest season for grapes, this is when it is time to pick the grapes off the vines so it can start to be turned into wine. I was fortunate enough that my school had asked if their were any volunteers that wanted to donate their time to helping a family outside of the city center, to harvest their grapes. I decided this was something that I really wanted to dIMG_2912o so I went with a couple of new friends. I am so delighted that I went to help out because it is still one of my favorite days I have had in Perugia. The family lived on a beautiful big farm that over looked the enormous lake in Perugia. They had many different types of grape vines and had many animals on the farm. They had dogs that just gave birth to puppies, ducks, peacocks, and horses. We were able to play with the new puppies, we all wanted to take them home. After the tour of the farm, nonetheless we started picking the grapes; we filled buckets and buckets with grapes. We would first load up our own buckets of grapes and then dump them into a tractor to the move the grapes to a certain area. We were allowed to taste and try the grapes while picking which was very rewarding. About half way done we stopped to learn about how the wine was made, they taught us how the grapes sit in big barrels and how it first turns into juice. We got to try the juice before it turned into wine and then after during lunch we had soIMG_2885me wine. Lunch was a four course home cooked meal. They food kept coming and it was delicious. The family that took us in treated like we were apart of their family, they were so kind and made so much food. It seemed as though it was never going to end. Then after lunch we went back to harvesting the grapes, I was working right along side with the grandfather; he was an older gentleman that was still helping the family tradition. The family and us volunteers work as a team and even though I cannot speak Italian I still felt welcomed and felt very involved.
By getting involved in the community it made me feel like I was a local. I did not just feel like I am a tourist and visitor. I felt like an Italian, because this is something that is ritual and a huge part of Italian culture. I am happy to say I was apart of that experience and apart of making Umbrian wine.

I will take away from this experience to always give back to the community and try to get involved. The more you get involved the more you are making that area your home. It is very rewarding to know, I helped this family. They are able to pick their grapes faster with us and will not have to be out in the fields as long because we helped.

A quote that Richard Slimbach said is “the first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society… to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships,” I think that coming out of your comfort zone really is the first step in this whole journey abroad. I am a city girl but I ventured out to an Italian farm submerging myself in Italian culture, which I am not used too. I felt involved in the society of Perugia and would like to try to get involved this month with oil harvesting.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Ben Raymond. Brisbane, Australia

Although I was unable to join a service organization at this time, my good friend Nick who lives in Brisbane was able to give me some insight to ways he actively helps the community. Nick has always been a huge fan of netball as a kid, and to this day, plays a few times a week. For those who don’t know, netball is a very popular sport in Australia which has many similar characteristics to basketball. Along with playing the sport regularly, Nick also volunteers at one of the city’s YMCA facilities, where he teaches children from ages 6 to 12 the fundamentals of netball. Nick explained to me that giving back to the community is very much the way of life in Australia. He said, “at a young age most of us are taught to be generous and charitable with our time.” Along with teaching children the fundamentals of the sport, Nick also used to coach a children’s team at the YMCA. He told me that the skills you learn from managing a team, as well as making friends with all of the great kids is reward enough to volunteer your time.

Moreover, while observing the surrounding community, it is clear that the facial expressions and body language used is actually quite similar to that used in the states. For instance, a normal greeting between two male friends is normally just a handshake (no European kissing on the cheek). The only time the body language and expressions differentiate from the American norm is if the two friends happen to be quite close. In this case, Australians are known to be much more rough and physical with each other. If you find yourself at a bar in the city, and two mates bump into each other, you better stand back, because things are going to get physical. This ranges from pushing, to punching, to picking each other up like newlyweds. As you can imagine, the entertainment factor is quite high for foreigners like myself. This is most likely one of the harder aspects of body language for my fellow Americans and I to get used to.

Living in a foreign country, there are many benefits to getting involved and volunteering time. While devoting time, one is able to see the core of the community, and how people from other cultures show gratuity. Also, generous acts solidify international bonds which create a strong global community. Although I only temporarily belong to this community, it is my duty as a globally aware citizen to do my part in making the world a better place, no matter where I am. If everyone had this mindset while abroad, I feel that the connections between countries would remain strong. Global responsibility is contagious – if a member of the global community makes an effort to make a positive impact, others are likely to follow suit. This is why it is crucial for somebody to take the first step.

One major point to take away from my talk with Nick is that devoting time to help others provides equal benefit to both you and the community. As the volunteer you develop a unique stet of skills that will prove to be beneficial in the future, as well amazing relationships with like-minded people who are also interested in improving the overall status of the global community. Hearing Nick’s story certainly made an impact on my time abroad. I now know that in any community throughout the world, there are always people who are willing to give back. It is such an amazing feeling to know that people around the world are all working towards a common goal to help their own communities, and furthermore, creating awareness to give back to the global community.

Below is a picture that Nick sent to me of some of the girls at his YMCA playing netball. The quote, “everyone can be great, because everyone can serve” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. connects quite perfectly with the picture I have chosen. The service that Nick has provided for these children, has highlighted his potential greatness, and has also caused him to become the amazing person he is today. Serving others is one of the greatest things one can do for their community. And although this may only be on a local scale, every small action is just another step in the right direction to achieve global unity.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Tory Parker. Rome, Italy.

My host university offered many different options for community service. I chose to volunteer my time at a battered women’s shelter in Rome helping to teach English. The battered women’s shelter’s goal here was similar to battered women’s shelters in the United States: to provide a safe and supportive environment for women who have lived through unfortunate circumstances. I thought this was an amazing opportunity to not only interact with people in my host community, but to make a small difference there as well. I was surprised to find that in addition to fulfilling my community service requirement for this class, volunteering my time here also benefited me in ways that I had not expected when I first chose this option.

One thing I have noticed about Italians in general is that they speak with a lot of emotion and also tend to talk with their hands. This observation was no different during my time volunteering. While teaching these women English, I could pick out who in the room was Italian and who was not. I was pretty confident that the ones speaking with their hands idle were probably not Italian. I find that myself and other study abroad students have slightly picked up the habit of talking with our hands, as well. The other night at dinner, my roommate almost knocked over four wine glasses because she was so invested in what she was saying. I think myself and other students may have picked up this habit because when interacting with locals almost everyday, even while just walking to class from our apartments, it’s hard not to unconsciously replicate little gestures that we constantly see and experience.

The benefit of volunteering, especially while living in another country, at least in my case, is interaction with a group of people that I most likely would not have had the chance to meet had I not volunteered. The women in the shelter were such resilient and brave individuals. Service work related to our class constructed definition of the Global Community because community service is the epitome of “respecting… and embracing … the betterment of society”. What else is community service than the active engagement in the betterment of society?

Volunteering at this battered women’s shelter impacted both my time abroad and me as an individual. It impacted my time abroad because I was able to see a different side of my host city other than the Coliseum, nice neighborhood, and gelato stands. While the premise of the shelter is not a happy one, I was glad I got to see a “real” side of Rome during my time here. Also, it made me more appreciative of my study abroad experience, meeting people that will not have the same amazing opportunities that I do. This experience also changed me as an individual because witnessing first-hand how strong and courageous these women were truly amazed and inspired me. I also think it impacted how I view my major and my career goals. I want to be a speech therapist, so this community service opportunity was perfect for me.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a picture with any of the women, but I found the quote, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together” by Lilla Watson, an aboriginal Australian woman, related to my experience volunteering in Rome. I think this quote describes how volunteering your time just to say you volunteered is a waste of everyone’s time. Volunteering should be about mutual benefit. Not only should the person/people you are helping get something out of the experience, but the person engaging in the community service should be doing so because knowing that they helped someone else, even in a small way, should be just as rewarding as the help the person is receiving.

Travel Log 12 “Service.” Jessica Sweeney. Hooksett, NH

For the service assignment, I could not volunteer, but I did talk to some of the students about a program they have, CityBuddies. This program is designed for incoming students to have an older undergraduate student guide them in the first few months of their first year. I think this organization is great, because although it doesn’t help anyone in need, it helps students get through their first experience at university, which is very helpful. Having an older student be able to guide you makes all the difference when beginning school. The students I interviewed stated how they had been the first year student first, before they started being the older student, so they know what is helpful to the new student. This is very important, because even though having professors to guide you through is helpful, you can gain a lot more just from having a student guide you through instead.

Since I was there second semester, there was really none of this occurring so I couldn’t see how it worked firsthand, but all the students involved seemed very passionate about this program. Every day they were passing out flyers, and talking to students trying to get others to join and become a buddy to incoming students. You could tell this was something they did to help students, not just something to add to their resume.

One of the main benefits of volunteering while living in another country is you get to learn so much about the people that live there. You get to see what they enjoy doing, and learn about their personalities. Volunteering abroad is a wonderful thing because not only do you learn so much about the people living in that country, you also get to experience the difference in volunteer work. Even though I did not actually volunteer for CityBuddies, I did learn a lot about how it works, and how beneficial it is. Volunteering is always a good thing, but doing it abroad, you learn even more. How it relates to our definition of Global Community is that there are people from different places coming together to make the world (in this case the City University community) better.

Some key points that I will take away from talking to them is that if you are not enjoying your volunteer work, you should try something else. The people involved in this organization really love what they are doing, and that is what makes the program so successful. I don’t do as much volunteer work as I should, but when I do, it’s always something that I enjoy doing, which is very important. In high school, and even in college, people continue to do volunteer work just because it looks good on a college application, or because it looks good on a resume, but that is not a good enough reason to volunteer. You should want to be volunteering for that organization, otherwise it’s not even worth it. I also think that we should do something like this at Quinnipiac. Even though some organizations such as the Honors Program, that does put you in groups with an older mentor, and orientation that gives you two upperclassmen to count on, it usually only lasts the first week or two of classes. I think if we were to do something like that here, it would decrease the number of students that transfer.

The quote I chose that relates to the picture I chose is, “the first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society… to create respectful and mutually beneficial relatioService, Spring2015nships,” (Richard Slimbach). This relates to the picture I chose, because when you are mentoring a student, you are gaining because you get to make a difference in the students life, and the student gains because they are getting knowledge they otherwise wouldn’t have. That is a mutually beneficial relationship.

Travel Log 12: “Community Service” by Ariel Olivieri. Dunedin, New Zealand.

At the organization fair during orientation week, myself and many of my friends walked through and signed up for several clubs that we thought would help us get involved with our community and allow us to meet people, while doing things that we love to do. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to join Rotaract Dunedin. This is a branch of the Rotary club in Dunedin and it would allow me to volunteer with many different organizations and events throughout my local community. Rotary is an international organization that strives to help out communities and business through support and volunteer work. While the list of the societies, associations, and foundations that the rotary club supports goes on forever, I am going to focus specifically on the Cancer Society and their event Relay for Life. Relay has been a huge part of my life since I was 12 years old. I have attended, and helped organize a team, every year that I can, and in several different locations. When I found out that Rotaract Dunedin was going to attend this event I was ecstatic. Due to the outstanding number of teams and team members I only walked for two hours between 4am-6am, but this was enough for me to feel like I had somehow made a difference.
One thing that I noticed while attending this event that was different from at home was the attitude and expression of those who walked/attended. Relay is always a moving and emotional event, but the reactions and expressions of those in Dunedin seemed less enthusiastic and more determined. Those who walked, walked with a determination and a passion that you don’t often see. At home, my friends and I will attend and set up our tents next to other people around our age and we will have fun while we are there. We laugh, sometimes cry, and enjoy the 24 hour walk. Here, it was different. Of course everyone still had fun, they were just more serious about it. However, this also could have been that it was 4am when I began to walk. This difference wasn’t a bad difference though, it was just eye-opening to see how serious people took this event.
I believe that it is important to volunteer no matter where you are or what you are volunteering for. The feeling of helping other people and the appreciation that they have for what you are doing is indescribable. I also feel that it is important to volunteer while abroad because it allows you to understand the struggles and the community that you are living in, while also showing the community your appreciation and compassion for them. When locally volunteering in another country, those who live there like when foreigners volunteer because it shows them that we care about their home just as much as we care about our own and it helps form a bond/connection between the two places. I believe that this is crucial to maintaining a healthy global community.
One major thing that I took from this event was that even though I am 9,449 miles away from home, people are still walking in this event to support cancer. It reassured me to know that even across the world people still care about the same causes that I do. It made the world feel a little bit smaller, but in the best way possible. It gave me hope and encouraged me to keep fighting for the cure, because with this many people all fighting for the same thing, it has to be possible. This event impacted my time abroad because it gave me a piece of home that I was missing. I knew I was going to miss out on Relay in both my hometown and at school and I was crushed that I wasn’t going to be able to walk, however that wasn’t the case. It made me appreciate Dunedin a little bit more, and took away some of my homesickness that had slowly been taking over.
Due to the odd hour in the morning that I volunteered I did not take many pictures of myself at the event, but this is a picture that I got from the Facebook page from this years event. Its a panorama from above the stadium depicting hundreds of people walking. The quote that I believe relates to this picture is “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” 10407965_691326157659608_5554972156933326059_n-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Within this picture are men, women, children, parents, grandparents, cancer patients, cancer survivors, and those who believe in the cure. When walking you could pass someone who has just run a marathon and then someone who needs help walking around the track. EVERYONE is there because EVERYONE believes that there is hope and they all want the same thing. They are all there to serve, regardless of their age, gender, race, or health, and everyone is great.

Travelogue 12: Service. Brian Costello. Dunedin, New Zealand.

The organization that I chose to volunteer for was the Department of Conservation through the Otago volunteer program. The DOC’s mission statement is “To protect our heritage, protect and monitor species, restore places and manage threats.” They help protect the environment by setting regulations and enforcing them. Keeping native animals of the island safe and ridding the island of the non-native animals is just one example of what the DOC does and is specifically what I helped them in doing.

On the weekend I was scheduled to help the DOC I had no idea what I would be doing. The only information I had was where to meet and who I would be getting picked up by. This person I was getting picked up by was Brendan Wiltens and when he arrived at my university he was just what I expected a DOC employee to look like. The only way I can describe his physical appearance would be to ask you to imagine a mountain man that has lived in the woods all his life and chops down trees on a regular basis for fun, but also plants new ones because he cares about the environment. Brendan was born and raised in New Zealand and he said that he began working for the DOC after going to Agriculture school because he felt it was more suitable for him. He described to me the task that we would be carrying out today, which was catching a non-native animal called the Bennett Wallaby. The Bennett Wallaby was first introduced to New Zealand for sport and the value of their skin, but these wallabies are considered harmful to the environment because they eat native endangered plants. We then drove to a sight were there was an infestation of wallabies and now all we had to do was capture as many as possible. The way we would do this is to bait them with food and then put a bag over their head so they don’t panic and then slowly slip them into the bag and then transport them to the cage at the back of the truck. Before we started however, Brendan gave me a challenge to try and catch a wallaby on foot which I greatly accepted.  After 20 minutes of me trying to catch a wallaby and many tears of laughter shed by Brendan, I was not able to catch a wallaby because they are extremely fast. We got to work and ended up catching seven wallabies within a few hours, which may not seem like much, but a lot of the wallabies aren’t that desperate for food. We then transported them to a farm where they keep wallabies for tourism purposes, where people can come to feed and play with them, which to me was a better alternative than killing them. After that Brendan dropped me back off at my university, he wished me well and told me that if I want to volunteer again to give him a call.

Some points I took from this experience is that the protection of the environment is vital for its sustainability, and that wallabies are lightning fast. If we don’t protect the environment that we live in it eventually becomes overrun with threats and dangers. Making sure something is done to protect and preserve our natural environment is a key factor in our lives and should not be taken for granted. It relates to our definition of the Global Community in the sense that we are all in this together and we should all be aware and take actions to make our community a better place to live. I feel that from this experience I was able to see a side of New Zealand that I would not normally see. For once, I got to see what the DOC does as well as take part in it, which to me was a lot more valuable than reading about it.

The picture I chose is of me with a wallaby that was captured years before and seemed to be enjoying life at the farm. If you were wondering, yes wallabies are as adorable as they appear in the picture, and yes they are super soft. Get jealous. The quote I chose that depicts my community service would “The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.” -Richard Slimbach. The reason I chose this quote to describe my experience is because I definitely ventured outside of my comfort zone with this experience. It was completely unknown of what I would be doing or what was expected of me when I signed up. Usually we are provided with clear cut directions of how to go about partaking in life, but not having these directions was refreshing. I am glad that I volunteered my time because I feel that through my help I was able to make a difference on the environment and the future. It may not be a monumental difference that will save all the endangered New Zealand plants, but every little effort counts.

A picture of me with an adorable and hungry Bennett Wallaby

A picture of me with an adorable and hungry Bennett Wallaby