This year, I have done most of my volunteering though the Isabella County Restoration House. This organization offered this really cool program during the cold winter months in partnership with the local churches in the Mount Pleasant community. What they offer is a rotating homeless shelter that rotates between the local churches each week. This serve relies solely on volunteers from each of these churches. There are volunteers for cooking breakfast each morning, cooking dinner, hangout time after dinner, and overnight monitoring. There are at least 2 people signed up for each volunteer shift. The rotating shelter, like I said, is heavily volutneer-dependant. For St. John’s, which has a smaller congregation made up of mostly retired individuals, I figured they could use the help. I sing in the church choir for St. John’s Episcopal Church, so I found out about the volunteer opportunity through their weekly e-news letter. Each time I volunteered I signed up for the overnight monitoring shift which runs from 11pm-6:30 am. I figured that since I am young and able-bodied I would be the best fit to work the overnight shift.
I loved each time I volunteered. The rewarding feeling of helping out a great cause definitely made up for the lack of sleep. the only downside to volunteering in the night was not being able to interact as much with the guests since they were all asleep. I did get to connect with a few of them though during my time. Hearing about the interesting lives of some of the guest was really cool and a good experience. For me, volunteer for the shelter really forced me to humanize all of the homeless individuals. It’s easy to feel bad for homeless individuals in general, but once I got to connect with one of them one-on-one, it really changed my perspective and opened my eyes to their situations. Each time I worked the shelter this year, we were either at, or close to our capacity for guests we could take in. While that is great because people are taking advantage of our service, it is also too bad that there are so many homeless people (and families with young children) that need to utilize our service.
My experience made me have a greater appreciation for our loving community and the efforts we are making to aid the homeless community. I will continue to help with the rotating shelter for as long as I am in Mount Pleasant. Without these programs and the volunteers involved in them, there would be no stable shelter for some of these individuals in the cold weather months. The rotating shelter, along with programs like People Helping People, are what makes Mount Pleasant a great place to live and provide awareness for community members of the huge, underestimated problem of homelessness in our own community.
This year, I am on the Grad Ball Lead team. Up to this point, our team has had many meetings in preparation for this event, which is actually coming up in just two short weeks. Organizing events is something that I love to do, so this was a great LEAD Team for me to be on. I am very excited to see how it will all turn out and celebrate the graduates of LAS 2012 Class!
The only girl I know who can wear crocs and still look cute.
I have enjoyed my time so much being a mentor to Faith, and I can’t wait until she also gets to be a mentor! I was pretty nervous at first because I didn’t know if Faith would like me, or if we would get along, but we do, and it’s great! While we don’t see each other nearly enough thanks to our busy and conflicting schedules, when we do see each other, we could talk for hours and not get sick of each other. We are there for one another when we need it and quickly resolve conflict whenever it arises. I am so thankful for Faith and the positivity that she has brought into my life.
As one of my RSO involvements for this year, I have taken the liberty of using my on campus job to count towards one of these. ( I have chosen to do this because between both my on campus and off campus job, my 19-credit hour work load, and volunteering at St. John’s, there isn’t much time for anything else!) Working at the CMU Music Building as a member of the event staff has been one of the most positive experiences in my career at CMU thus far. This job has taught me so much about putting together events, keeping composure at the face of chaos and learning to put others before myself. Not only do I get all of this professional development experience at the Event Staff, but the sense of community among not only the staff, but the entire music building is incredible. I can’t walk through the music building without stopping to talk to someone for a few minutes, or greeting one of the faculty, and I’m not even a music major! Being a member of the event staff here on campus is one of the places that I feel I truly belong. This semester, I am also training to be an Event Staff Coordinator (Student Manager) for the next school year. I am extremely excited to continue to learn about the work that I do, and to further build on this very welcoming and unique community that the music building offers.
Members of the staff at our annual “Event Staff Olympics”
The team after a failed attempt at a human pyramid.
This year, to meet our residential living requirement, I am living in Sweeney Hall with two other LASers and one other girl. I met Sam and Chelsea the first day I moved into Barnes last year, and we have been friends every since, and I met Sara shortly thereafter. Having friendly roommates this year makes a world of difference for me from last year when I had a rather unpleasant living experience in Barnes. Being friends with my roommates and having a shared respect for each other is something I have really enjoyed about this year. While I’m excited to move out of the dorms, I will definitely miss living with these girls next year.
To fulfill my volunteer work throughout the semester, I spend much of my time at St. Johns Episcopal church in Mt. Pleasant singing in the church choir. While the majority of the choir is made up of paid music students from CMU, the rest of us are volunteer who love to sing and love going to St. John’s. We rehears every Thursday evening and attend the service every Sunday morning. Throughout each semester, I average about 48 hours of service at St. John’s, and that’s not including the extra rehearsals and performances for additional services, like for Holy Week and funerals, etc. My favorite part about St. John’s (aside form the making of beautiful music) is the extremely inclusive and welcoming environment that this church fosters. I have never felt so well received by a congregation before my time at St. John’s and am very proud to be a member of the church choir.
My ideas about being a mentor didn’t really change after out mentor workshop in LDR 200. I’ve had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to be as a mentor since I’ve had my mentor. I plan to be the best mentor I can be to whoever I get as my mentee.
I most look forward to being a friend to my mentee and being there for her whenever she needs someone. I personally didn’t have a particularly strong relationship with my mentor, so I hope to become close with my mentee and help her transition into college life.
To be the most effective mentor I can be, I am going to make sure I keep in contact with my mentee as much as possible. I think the key for having a strong relationship is good an constant communication, so I hope to keep in contact with my mentee as much as possible throughout the summer and especially at the beginning of the next semester.