Tag Archives: giving

What is Rotaract?

Rotaract is a collegiate level club rooted from the international club called Rotary. Our slogan is service above self and we do many projects locally and internationally. For example, last year the Rotaract club made a ball field for a local trailer park. This year through the organization I was able to make blankets for a local homeless shelter. Also, we sent books to the Philippines and made a mini library for a local trailer park. Not only do we do a lot of service projects, but we get a lot of guest speakers that offer individual volunteer opportunities.

I joined Rotaract because of learning about Rotary in high school. Junior year I was selected to go to a leadership camp called RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. I was selected along with one other student and we were both funded by the communities Rotary club. Who or what is this Rotary club? Well, let me tell you! Many Rotary clubs can be seen in communities around you and even in other countries! There are over 1.2 million Rotarians in the world. The first service project of the first Rotary club was in Chicago where they worked on the installation of public toilets in the city. Also, Rotary and it’s partners are the reason for reducing polio cases by 99.9% worldwide. At the time I did not know what Rotary was and how much this organization does for their city and world. I would say Rotary is like a hidden gem, many people do not know about it, but they pass things that were made by the local Rotary club. For instance, here at CMU I was walking through a park and I went over a little bridge with a roof on top and it had a sign on it saying sponsored by the local Rotary club. Other places you could see this hidden gem is even on highways, many Rotary Clubs like to adopt highways and clean them up or even build little libraries. Rotary clubs do so much for the community, but they do not get the appreciation or even awareness they deserve.

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After the RYLA camp I found that there was a thing called Rotary Interact. Most of the students at the camp came for their high school’s Rotary Interact Club. That is when I began to ask my self, why do we not have one! I came back senior year determined to get a Rotary Interact club. I was able to present to the local Rotary about the camp and thank them for the opportunity, but also ask them to partner with me and the new Rotary Interact club I wanted to start at my school. In different terms, Rotary is the international organization’s name and this club is made of community members. Rotary Interact is the high school name for the club it is just high school students. Lastly, Rotaract is the college level of Rotary made up of college students. After a few months of promoting the club, getting members, getting approval of the city, and partnering with another high school by us we finally started our Rotary Interact club. Since, it was all new to us and we started later into the year, we decided to just do a local service project, in which fulfills part of the club’s requirement to do a local and international service project each year. We actually were able to do two local service projects the first was to help out the local businesses. I come from a small town and most of any funds we need at the school come from the community. I wanted to do this project because all the support and donations the local businesses have done fore us. What we did was contact a few businesses and asked them what we could do to help them. What we ended up doing at some of the businesses was mostly sweeping the parking lot and picking up trash, it may not have seemed like a big deal, but you could see the difference and the owners were very appreciative of the work we did. Secondly, I wanted to bring education and passion back to the outdoors. My home town is located on the Saginaw Bay. Many people in the community do not even know that we have a county park on the bay. For me I love nature and it was sad to see people not appreciate what was in their back yard. This is when I had the idea to have a nature day camp, free for the children in the surrounding county’s. I worked very hard in getting donations so that the children would have a provided lunch, as well as fun activities to do. Through this organization I found my passion(s).  I learned that the youth is important because they will soon be our working generation, so I make sure I can be a role model for any child. Also, I learned that service for others can make a huge difference in individual lives, as well as for the community. If we all take a little less and give a little more we can be the ripple effect of the change we want to see.

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Rotary Interact Nature Day Camp

 

When I graduated I knew that I had to find a Rotary club in college and did. I mentioned some of the service projects we have done this year in Rotaract and I am excited for all the new service opportunities for next year. I have such a strong passion for this club. It has brought me joy to give back to the community, as well as internationally. You get to give and be a part of something bigger than yourself. I hold the values of the club close to mine, especially service above self. Rotaract inspires me each day to better the lives around me and help change the world. I learned through the club the importance of service and I got to first hand see the impact it makes for others.

While, the year is coming to a close I decided to run for an e-board position. I was elected the social chair meaning I am in charge of making social for the group members and with meeting other Rotaract clubs. I am excited for this position because I feel that the club members internal cohesion with others is important to the success of the club. Also, by being able to socialize with other clubs we will be able to learn new ideas and opportunities we can take back to the club or even partner with them and make an even bigger impact on the world.

I am incredibly excited for the future and being able to have a voice on the e-board. I want to do more service projects. I also want to do a project that brings nature appreciation to Mount Pleasant. I want to raise more funds than we ever have before, so we can help more people. In the future I am going to live a more self-less life because I know the importance of service and a living a life that is beyond just my own. Lastly,  it is my mission to educate the community on what Rotary is and what is had done for others and myself. It is important for others to know about this great opportunity in order from them to be a part of a great club devoted to service.

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The American Experience

To fulfill the LAS protocol I took a class called HST, The American Experience. In class we learned a lot about the history of America and it’s residents. We analyzed the dynamics of America and immigration there. Looking at different immigration waves we got to see different nationalities, as well as the repercussions they faced after being in America like discrimination or injustices.

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An assignment we did was to research an immigration period or a certain group of immigrants. There was no rigid guidelines to follow, the reins were free on this one. I thought it was fascinating to use this assignment to dig deeper into my ancestors and where they came from. I myself am a walking example of a melting pot being many nationalities, but for this project I choose my Polish descent. I got to learn about the hardships they faced just getting to America, as well as when they got here. My ancestors worked very hard to make a living and to eventually try to be somebody. Now, I live representing my ancestors and I am honored to come from hardworking immigrants. Also, I am grateful. Grateful for the freedoms I have that my ancestors did not. I am grateful for in general having an easy life, where there is labor laws, actual freedom of speech, and many other resources put into place to make sure that a person is not abused of their rights.

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Another assignment I did was to pick an immigrant that came to America and was a leader and contributed to the country. I learned about an incredible women. She faced many hardships in her life, but she never dwelled on them she just gave more to others. She understood the importance of being a part of something bigger than yourself and that your small tribulations are nothing compared to what could be fixed in the world. This incredible human was Mother Mary Jones. She got the nickname Mother Jones because of the care and dedication she gave to others, especially labor workers. She lived from 1830-1930, just at the beginning of gaining women’s rights. She was a strong women and that was feared by many. She was considered the most dangerous women in America. Mary was threatened to be sent to prison or even killed, but she didn’t care she kept fighting for labor workers rights. Her dedication and passion was exemplified when she went to a labor strike site at the age of 82! The strike got violent and she was arrested and sentenced to prison for 20 years, however her followers convinced the governor to let her out on pardon.  Mary could have spent the rest of her life in jail and that did not scare her because she went right back to organizing labor workers. Mother Mary Jones was a true leader. She led with passion and dedication. For the future I want to work at being more like Mother Jones. First, I want to find a cause I am passionate about. I want to have the courage to stir trouble and not be afraid of what other people have to say. When and if I turn 82 I want to be just as driven and dedicated to my purpose, just like Mary because a purpose in life should never be given up on.

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What I learned from this class is it is important to learn from history, in order to not repeat the wrong decisions or injustices from the past. Also, this idea can be related back to oneself, learn from your own mistakes you make in life and keep moving forward. Now, I will be more aware and mindful to the mistakes from the past in order to make a better future. Also, I am going to cherish my heritage more from now on because I have a greater sense of who my ancestors are and greater appreciation for what they had to face. Lastly, I am going to be more driven to find my passion and purpose in life, so I can make a difference like Mary. Going into a History class I thought it is done and over with why learn about it and I found the answer, and that is to apply the good the bad the ugly and use it what you learned in the future.

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Post-Service Trip to Detroit

This is a blog about my experience after going on the Leadership trip to Detroit. I went on this trip with the rest of my LAS cohort and we got the opportunity to explore different places in Detroit, as well as get to spend the night there.

An overview of what we did is, facilitate leadership activities at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, visited Quicken Loans and got a presentation on what they have done for Detroit, explored the Detroit Institute of Art, spent the night at the Outdoor Adventure Center, and did service projects with Cass Community Center.

img_20170211_084911      First stop…

 

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

What: Jalen Rose is a charter high school in Detroit. The school has a leadership focus and those that attend must apply. The academy first began in 2011 and is growing each year. The founder Jalen Rose wanted to give back to his hometown of Detroit and he thought the best way was to give back to the youth and provide them opportunities to be successful. At Jalen Rose we were split into different groups to facilitate and participate in leadership activities with the leadership students at the school. We set standards for what we expected out of the day and from others. Through the activities we got to enhance our leadership and communication skills, as well as step back to allow the Jalen Rose students make decisions and work through the activity.

So what: I found that these students want to learn and want to become better. When one student said, ” When will you guys be coming back?”, and that there told us we were making an impact on them. They are excited for us to come back and share the passion for leadership. These students are positive, uplifting, and bright and this school allows them to grow and find their potential. Jalen Rose’s website says something about how they do not make leaders, but cultivate their skills. Meaning we all have greatness within us, but with guidance it can really shine. It starts with a will to make a difference and possessing leadership skills and that is what Jalen Rose founder and staff have. The positive and passionate leaders within the school allow that greatness to reflect back to the students. The students at Jalen Rose are being challenged, supported, and let free to express and explore who they are. The attitude towards growth and the students paves a way for a bright futures among the students. I believe the school provides a unique opportunity to become successful, as well as be in a supportive community surrounded by others who want to better themselves and their lives.

Now what: After this experience it has opened my eyes to Detroit. Detroit gets such a bad reputation, but this school has shown me that there is brighter future for Detroit. It also showed me what great leadership and passion can do. I intend on leading more with passion and helping others reach their potential by cultivating their skills, just like Jalen Rose. Also, the founders leadership ideology has inspired me to reach out to youth and inspire them because they are our future and they can make a difference, like the Jalen Rose students.

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Quicken Loans

What: We arrived at Quicken Loans, a little bit confused of why. Quicken Loans is a mortgage lending company, but we learned it was much more than that. At Quicken Loans over dinner we received a presentation about Quicken Loans and asked questions. The VP of Quicken Loans took time out of his night to come and help answer some of our questions we had about Quicken Loans. After, we then went on guided towards to further explore Quicken Loans and their culture.

So What: Again, we were asking why were we here? It wasn’t until the VP talked about his passion for the company and the city that it hit in. The VP left Microsoft Word to join Quicken Loans because he embodies a great leader. He choose to take a position that would help benefit others even though it could be a risk and he already has a job. My ideal leader will want to leave to help others even if they do not get any external motives to do so. Quicken Loans wants to make a better community, by donating their time and dollars into the organizations and the community. The company is all about opening doors and creating more opportunities for the people of Detroit. They are investing in Detroit because they want to make Detroit great again. The tour also helped me see the culture and attitude toward the employees. There is a great level of respect for the employees and that is shown by the efforts in believing in them and letting them grow and learn. The company allows anyone to come up with an idea and pitch it to allows, which represents their respect to their employees. They believe in their employees and lets everyone feel like someone, not just a number. Most importantly, I value their atmosphere of creativity and ingenuity because I am like minded and I feel it helps set their company a part from others.

Now What: I experienced a great leader that will help others without any person gain and it has inspired me to become that leader. Also, now I know what company I would like to work for. I want to be in a company that values their employees, their community, and service to others because all are important in my life.

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Detroit Institute of Art

What: The Detroit Institute of Art was founded in 1885 and continues to show culture for the Detroit area. When we visited we were let loose to explore the DIA. The museum had a special section called, “Detroit After Dark”, recognizing the culture, history, and artist in Detroit. There I also got to hear part of a conversation from one of the DIA workers explaining why he works there.

So what: After visiting the DIA someone asked why we went there. What the purpose was. What seemed like a good question, I found a quite explainable answer to. The DIA represents culture, much at which Detroit represents, too. Also, the DIA represents beauty in art and expression and gives Detroit a place of hope, respect, beauty, and freedom. I feel the DIA is symbolic to Detroit, it shows the good, the bad, and the future through the art work. We can see much of what is shown in the DIA in Detroit. Places like Jalen Rose show a picture of hope and growth, finding beauty within others and enriching the youth for a brighter future. Some people depict Detroit as a scary crime ridden place, and in some art pieces it showcases the ugly within things. These different pictures we see of Detroit is just like the pictures we see in the DIA. Not only is the DIA symbolic to Detroit, but it gives Detroit culture, beauty, and expression to visitors and to the community. When I come to the DIA I can feel the artist’s strong feelings towards their work because each piece tells a different story. I find it fascinating that these art pieces can bring the feelings of relatedness to others. It is inspiring that these artists can reach others through their art pieces and can help others feel not alone. One other person that saw the beauty of the DIA and what it represents is the worker I heard sharing why he works without pay. He said he hates seeing people not appreciate Detroit, so he wanted to be around people that come and see the beauty within Detroit at the DIA. Also, he wanted to volunteer his time, so the money he would get paid could be used else where in Detroit. He is just another example of a hidden gem in Detroit that finds the beauty in the city and wants to help better Detroit.

Now what: I am going to look at things like a picture, looking at it as a whole. I want to be able to really observe my experiences and tell what story is being told, like the DIA. Also, the worker instilled in me hope, that even an average Jo can make a difference. He inspired me to stand by my beliefs and goals and do what I can everyday to work toward that mission.

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Outdoor Adventure Center

What: The Outdoor Adventure Center is a facility that bring the outdoors to the heart of the city of Detroit. It allows those to visit and learn outdoor activities through exhibits and simulators. The Outdoor Adventure Center offered their space for us to sleep there, so we could stay for another day to serve Detroit.

So what: This building represents the events of Detroit. This building was once a manufacture of marine steam engines for frat and passenger vessels. It was booming with business, but just like Detroit it took a turn for the worst. The building sat for years, falling a part. This building then was restored and turned into the building we went to. The Outdoor Adventure Center is a sign of hope, change, and growth in the city of Detroit. The building offers a unique opportunity for visitors and residents to explore beyond their boundaries and get a glimpse of what is around them in nature. As for Detroit it is changing and growing as well. Like, this building and many others it is a sign of hope, hope for the new reclaimed city of Detroit.

Now what: I want to be involved in the growth of Detroit weather it is volunteering or helping in some way. I am excited and inspired by all the changes I see happening in Detroit. This building was a risk, but it has become successful and it has taught me to take risks that will benefit the community because it will work out.

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Cass Community Center

What: Is a center aiming to provide food, housing, health services, and job opportunities to those in Detroit. Cass prepares and serves around one million meals a year and provides different housing options to those that need it. Also, Cass employs those that need work by having jobs in making mats, coasters, and flipflops and shredding documents for a company. At our visit with Cass we were split into different groups to help different areas. The areas were mat making, paper shredding, food preparation, and organizing donation rooms. I was put to organizing donations and I learned that the things that are no good get recycled and paid for by pound by a different company, so they can make maximum profits to put back into the community efforts.

So what: Sue the director of Cass showed immense leadership skills to make Cass as successful as it is. She is very precise, hardworking, and giving. You can tell that Sue works out of love and passion, because Cass is making huge strides in bettering the Detroit area.

Now what: Sue was an inspiration to myself on how I want to lead. She is self-less and determined in making a difference. I want to become more like Sue because she is the backbone to making Detroit great again.

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Pre-Service Trip

January 10th and 11th LAS will be visiting Detroit, MI to complete a service trip. This trip we plan to bring our leadership abilities to help positively impact the community and it’s people. We will be partnering with Cass Community Social Services and Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

When you google search “Detroit MI” you will see the suggestions after it will be “ghetto”, “poverty”, ‘crime”, or “abandoned neighborhoods”. Why? When did Detroit get this stigma? This stigma not only lies true on google, but in the heads of most people when they think of Detroit. When I mentioned I was doing a service trip in Detroit the first thing I was told was to be careful. I was brought up with the stigma as well. Be taught to be cautious and careful in Detroit. I understand, I do. ABC news reported the top 10 dilemmas facing Detroit and they were…

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The city’s unfunded liabilities top $18 billion.
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The city owes money to over 100,000 creditors.
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Nearly 80,000 buildings have been abandoned and many are unsecured.
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Population of Detroit has fallen from 1.86 million in 1950 to 700,000 today.
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Some 47 percent of properties are delinquent in paying their taxes.
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Police take an average of 58 minutes to respond to calls.
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Only 8.7 percent of violent crimes are solved and Detroit has the highest crime rate in US of large cities.
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Manufacturing jobs in the city have slid from a peak of 200,000 to just 20,000 today
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Only 7 percent of the city’s eighth graders are proficient in reading.
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The city manager says its retirement system is underfunded by $3.5 billion.

There are many economic and social issues in Detroit, as you can see. I believe Detroit’s plummet was due to poor leadership. Poor leadership in bad planning, lack of action , and disconnected relationships with the population. However, I do see beauty in Detroit. I see the historic buildings and agricultural monuments. I see hard work and the “American Dream” that many of my ancestors were a part of. I see culture and diversity, and the beauty of all people regardless of their identity. I also hope and love in those that want to bring life back to Detroit.

I am thrilled to be partnering with Cass Community Social Services and Jalen Rose Leadership Academy because they are fighting for a stronger Detroit. They want change. They want growth and improvement. They want to make a difference. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. I am very excited for the partnership and I hope I can make a difference, while I am on the trip.

Below is the purpose and vision of the Leadership Institute at CMU

PURPOSE: Central Michigan University is committed to preparing Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society.

VISION: The Leadership Institute prepares the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work.

This trip embodies both the purpose and the vision of the Leadership Institute. Having this experience will be a great learning opportunity in being engulfed in what most people will feel as a new environment. Some will be scared from the Detroit stigma. Some will be anxious because they are unfamiliar with Detroit and it’s history. That is okay. I truly believe this trip will broaden each and everyone’s horizons in getting a glimpse of the complex social issues and problems in Detroit. Sometimes as a leader we are not prepared, but they will happen with the ever changing and challenging world we have. This trip will prepare us for having a leadership role in a challenging situation since it will be a totally new and different environment with different complex social and economic issues.

When we go to Detroit we hope to encourage others and use are leadership skills, especially at the Academy. When we collaborate and teach the students on leadership it is something that will last for when we go. We hope we can better the skills of the students to continue to make a change in their community. Also, at our trip we will be doing volunteer work that works with the community and helping it improve. We are putting in work, but also instilling in the youth of the community skills that will continue the goal of improving Detroit through quality of life, economy, and communities.

This trip will benefit me in so many ways. I believe I will have a better grasp of the dynamics  and issues of Detroit. Also, I will be able to make new relationships and grow connections with those in Detroit. I will become a more well-rounded leader because I will be broadening my horizons with opening my heart and mind to a new environment.

 

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I Will Remain…

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In my leadership class my group was assigned a leadership-themed book and it was A Leader’s Legacy.  

As a leader we do things each day that help to create what our legacy will be.

The greatest leaders are those that do for others, not themselves.

The things you do for others will shape the legacy you leave because the things you do for yourself die with you.

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The book taught be that leaders are going to suffer and it is important to be interested in others success.

As a leader you lead by example and teach others by showing them what to do.

Everyday we encounter people, at which they get to see who we are. Your actions and encounters play a role in the legacy you leave.

It is important to stay mindful of what you show others because that is how others will remember you as.

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Not only is it important to teach others, but be open to learn from others.

Everyone in your life has a lesson to give you.

To grow and become the person you need to be you must be open to never stop learning and growing.

Those who leave the strongest legacies are those that don’t sit by, they stand up and make things happen. You show others that you can make a difference!

As a leader, you must trust, encourage and appreciate those around you because it makes a great impact on how they see you. Not only is it the things you do, but the way you act towards others that show your character and the legacy you want to leave.

Leader’s require courage. Courage to be

the person they want to be by standing by their values and beliefs.

An important lesson I learned from the book is that everyone has their own legacy they want to leave and as a leader you have to be mindful of that. Many people in charge tend to infringe on the freedom of others to express their ideas or work independently.

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A part of our project was to do a video portion. We choose to tape people asking them what they want their legacy to be and what they are doing now to achieve that.

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We found it important to think to ask ourselves those questions.

We get caught up in life and sometimes forget what we are truly trying to accomplish. We all have an idea of what legacy we want to leave, but are we doing the right things each day to leave that legacy?

I want to make a legacy that will represent who I want to be saw as. Now I am going to work on how I can create my legacy. I am going to be more positive and inspirational to those that I am around. I am going to continue being involved and doing volunteer work because it is giving be the opportunity to build my legacy.

I want to be compassionate.

I want to be self-less.

I want to be up-lifting.

I want to inspire others.

At which, I will remain… by the image I create for myself.

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