Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Beginnings

New Beginnings seems a fitting title to this post.  This is a time of change and growth in my life; I am able to learn more about myself and the others around me – it is exciting!  I have started this blog (along with my awesome roommate whose blog you should check out: Called to Love) to blog about the service projects and trips I am able to be a part of throughout college and beyond.  I have a blog for the mission trips I go on, which you can check out (I blogged about our rescue mission to Haiti: Christian Youths Speak Out).  But, I digress… J
            I am in a program called Bonner, which means 1,800 hours of community service in my four years of college…I know, crazy!  I was a little unsure about the program at first because of the long hours it would require in college, but I am so happy to have joined!  The group is incredible – it is our own little family (Bonner Love!) and everyone shares the same values of serving and being a part of the community.  The older Bonners helped us first-years through the first fall term, encouraging us as we alternately stressed about work and grades then broke down because we couldn’t stop studying long enough to get in the required service hours.  Now that we finally went through the pain and learned time management, we are going crazy – I have about 10-15 hours a week of community service, and I love every minute of it!
            There are several places I am working, the main positions being in Project Horizon, a domestic/sexual abuse hotline and shelter; Campus Kitchens, a program that takes donated food and prepares meals for non-profits, elderly shut-ins, children’s’ homes, and other needy families in the area; GirlTalk, an amazing program for girls at the local middle schools where we get to meet with the girls and talk about issues like bullying, self-esteem, and true friends; and being a teacher’s aid and  tutoring at Waddel, a local elementary school.  All of these have been incredible rewarding, as they have helped me just as much (if not more) as I have helped as a volunteer. 
            I will be blogging about the many fun things that go on as I volunteer, and there are some pretty cool stories in the lives of the people I am able to meet.  As for now, I will leave you with one word of advice – volunteer!  It truly touches the lives of those you help, and you are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and blessed to have been a part of something great.  Best wishes!

P.S.  Check out the Bonner website if you are interested in learning more about the program and how it helps communities: