Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul

Leadership Training

One of my favorite aspects of being a leader is also being a servant. I love leadership positions that take place in the community, and that is one of my favorite parts of the LAS scholarship.

Being a leader and giving back to the community is a great way to demonstrate servanthood, and being held to that standard is very important. I also love that not only does LAS require that of leaders, but that CMU also offers so many fun volunteer experiences to choose from. Some of my most memorable volunteer experiences have come from just the last couple of years spent at CMU.

This year, my favorite volunteer experience was offered through my major, Elementary Education. Each year, the health residential college teams up with the education students and put on a Field Day event for students with disabilities, whether they are cognitive or physical. This opportunity was so rewarding, tiring, and humbling.

Waking up at 6am and not finishing until 3pm makes for one long day, however I wouldn’t want to spend my day any other way. I helped at a station where students tested their food sensory using touch, taste, and smell.

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Finding my people

Leadership Training, Uncategorized

Coming into college, one known as a “party school”, I was nervous that as someone who is very strong in their faith, I wasn’t going to be able to find my place. However, I was very fired up about going to CMU and I knew that if I felt called to go there, then God was going to provide for me, and boy did he.

I had heard all about this great church at many different college campus’ called His House Christian Fellowship, and I was eager to give it a try. However, with my anxiety and the fact that I knew no one there, it took me a while to work up the courage to go. After going one Sunday and falling in love with the community, the worship, and the message, I knew I had to get more involved. After introducing myself to the connection intern, he excitedly told me that joining what is called a “life group” would be the perfect fit for me. I eagerly signed up because I was excited to meet a group of girls that I could hopefully bond with while growing in my faith even further.

After just a couple of days I got a call from a girl named Alyssa- just from hearing her voice I knew she was going to be one of the sweetest young women at school. She invited me with open arms to join her life group with another leader named Lynlee and a few other girls. Luckily, one of the other girls’ names sounded familiar because she was in the LAS sophomore cohort.

Fast forward 8 months and I do not know where I would be without these girls. They are some of the sweetest, kind-hearted, strong, empowering women I have ever met. Each of them have their own stories and hearing all the different ways that God has worked through them is beyond powerful to hear. I always looked forward to my Wednesday nights because it meant I got to laugh and grow with not only God but with some of the best gals ever!

Because of this group and how much I loved it, I decided to take a leap of faith (literally), and apply to be a life group next year. I have always loved helping lead in a church setting because not only am I helping guide others on a topic I am so passionate about, but I also am growing in my own faith through others’ lives. I truly do not know what I would do without my faith and I hope that I can help others see how much God loves them and wants to have a life with them.

Communication is key

Leadership Education

I’m sure for many people, this quote has come up at least once when discussing relationships. For me, this quote will always remind me of my experience in a class I had to take for my LAS protocol called Communication in Leadership.

This class was taught by quite possibly one of the sweetest women I have ever met–Elizabeth Carlson. She was passionate about this subject and wanted each of us really take something away from this class that we could apply to our lives as leaders and how it would result in us being a more effective leader.

Personally, the things I took away from this class were more of topics that dealt with my own leadership styles and how I influence my followers through how I lead. I specifically learned that I tend to be more of a democratic leader as well as a servant leader. When leading groups, I find it very important that although I may be designated as the “leader”, all my followers feel like their voices and opinions are valued and heard. I want everyone to give input and work together to reach the common goal, whatever it may be. This style is called a democratic style because it is very similar to a democracy, where all people get a say in politics are a free to express their thoughts and opinions. The other style, a servant leader, is something I have always strived to be more like because I admire it in all the people in my life who I see as leaders. Specifically, I think of my Mom. That woman puts everyone before herself and deeply cares for others, something I consciously have to remind myself to do.

Through this class, I learned what I want to change about my leadership style, as well as the strengths I see in how I lead. This class not only helped me learn more about my cohort and the leaders they are, but also about myself and how there is no right or wrong way to leadership; everyone is just different!

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We The People

Leadership Education

From what I had heard from students who previously took the class, PSC105: Intro to American Government & Politics was going to be the worst class of my semester. Although it wasn’t my favorite class, I did learn some very valuable facts about how democracy was born and how truly lucky we are to live in the country that we do.

From day 1, my professor started just about every class with a daily rant about our current president and the mess that our country is in. Although I was kind of annoyed since none of the information pertained to what was going to be on our exam, I quickly realized that he really was connecting it to class. One topic that we touched on in class was our civil liberties: the rights stated in the first amendment. My professor was prating his freedom of speech rights, and encouraging us to do the same by getting us involved in the conversations. I am not one to really voice my opinion on political topics since I never feel like I have enough knowledge to talk about it. However, this class really pushed me to stay up to date on what is going in our country since it also affects me.

One of the biggest grades in this class came from a project that took place throughout all 16 weeks. The class was separated into a few groups with about 8-10 students in each. Each group was assigned to a graduate assistant who helped facilitate each meeting. The goal of this project was to discuss a solution or an action towards a solution, to a major problem in our world. If you are up to date with politics, or if you are a human, you probably have a good shot at correctly guessing what we had to try to solve… immigration. We met with our groups about once a month and each meeting had different goals to help us implement our project. My group worked really hard together and came to the conclusion that we wanted to raise more awareness to what life is like as an immigrant and how immigrants positively contribute to american society. Through raising awareness through reaction videos of CMU students, our group was chosen to present this project to fellow faculty and students. This experience in itself was really inspiring for me because there were multiple groups selected and it was cool to see all the other groups and their ideas on how to solve this controversial issue. Seeing so many CMU students come together inspired me to be more involved in politics because there are people who are risking their lives so that we may keep our democracy, as well as people risking their lives just to live in this country. Therefore, the least I can do is be an active citizen and stick up for what I believe in.

As a leader on campus and in the world, it is important that I voice what I am passionate about and stick up for what I believe in. This class helped boost my confidence so that I can be a better leader and practice my rights to voice my passions.

Click here for the video we showed in our reaction video

#BLESSED

Uncategorized

Dear Brooke,

Although we didn’t spend 24/7 together like some duo’s may, you have no idea how lucky I am to have a mentee like you. Your kindness is infectious beyond belief and your faith is so powerful that I know you are changing people’s hearts here at CMU and wherever you go.

From the moment I read about you, I knew I wanted you. I always wanted a mentee with whom I could share a love for God with, and boy was I right. Every time we met up, I left with the happiest heart because I always knew that God was doing great things in your life and because I loved hearing about all the ways that you were shining his light. Thank you for always being an encouragement in my life even though you probably had no idea you were. You impacted my life this year probably more than I did yours!

It has been so amazing to watch you grow into the almost college sophomore that you are! Isn’t it crazy to think that soon enough you are going to be writing a blog post to the next addition to our crazy family?! But seriously… your grandma and I were just talking about how independent you are, and boy is it crazy how opposite we are. I love knowing that even though I don’t see you all the time, I know you are ok and that you truly are thriving here on campus. I am so glad to see that you have found all the places that you fit in and where you are going to grow over the next few years on campus. I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished this year… #proudmom

Thank you for making my sophomore year even more enjoyable, and I can’t wait to further our relationship with the newest addition to our family!

Much love,

Madeline

Future Child Advocates….part 2

Leadership Training

After falling in love with Future Child Advocates and all that it stood for, I decided to not only come back for a second year, but I also took on an eboard position as Public Relations chairperson. I loved working with the amazing girls that were on eboard and just seeing how passionate not only they were, but even the general members. The club consists of all girls (not on purpose) who each have such a strong passion to be a voice for kids who don’t have one. They are passionate about being a positive light in children’s lives and for sticking up for them when they need someone.

At each meeting we work towards furthering our education on child abuse and neglect so that we can be better prepared when we are working with children hands on in our professions and every day life. This RSO is also very dedicated to giving back to the community. One of my favorite memories of this year was volunteer at the Whaley’s Children Center in Flint, MI. This is a large foster care system that houses children who experience problems at their home. They are dedicated to providing the best service and care for the children there and I could see that all throughout the time I spent there. We got to spend the day just helping organize whatever they needed, we decorated their parlor for Christmas time so that it felt like home for the children, and then we actually got to spend time with some of the children. For me this was the best part. The kids were preparing a Christmas concert to perform for their families who could make it, so they asked us to stay and sing along with them. I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever sang louder or more out of tune in my entire life, but boy did we have a blast. Those kids taught me more about love and joy than anyone else, and yet for most of them, they have been so deprived of that for their entire lives. This experience really just opened my eyes to the what true happiness looks like when you have nothing.

Being apart of Future Child Advocates has been one of the best parts of being at CMU and I can’t wait to see what we do next year!

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Our donation of 2,000 socks to the local homeless shelter

The hype-st day of the year

Leadership Training

As part of protocol for the Leader Advancement Scholarship, I am required to be a part of a lead team. Freshman year I was placed in the special events lead team and I had such a blast planning fun events for all of the cohorts. This year, I was very excited to find out that I was going to be on the competition day team.

Competition day is probably the best day in the Leadership Institute. This is the day where about 100 high school students are invited to compete for the 50 scholarship spots.  It is so much fun to watch the high schoolers not only interact with campus and all the leaders here, but with each other as well. Although not all of the students get the scholarship, all students are encouraged to find ways to be involved in the Leadership Institute because everyone is a leader here.

Although our lead team didn’t meet very often, getting to help at competition day was a treat in itself. My job was the greet every student that came in and get their folder all set up with everything that their day was going to entail. I got to talk to families and say hello to all the nervous but excited students. Getting to see the next group of leaders come into CMU was so exhilarating for me because they are the next group of world changers. From the second they walked into the room you could tell that they wanted to grow and learn just at competition day.

Being apart of this lead team was fulfilling and exciting. I can’t wait to see what group I am apart of next year, and hopefully further my leadership experiences through my next lead team.

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Competition day with the best roomie

A class every American should have to take

Leadership Education

Today’s world is filled with so much hate. Everywhere you look: the news, social media, out in public, and sometimes even at home, is filled with so much hate. The part that is even sadder to me is that most of this hate is aimed towards one another. People like to think that they are better than others and they use that mindset to create a sense of power over someone else. I never really understood how people could be so awful towards someone else, and then I took “HDF110 Oppression: Roots & Impact” and so many of my questions were answered or at least discussed.

This class was created to look deeply at different forms of oppression and how people deal with being apart of those groups. We discussed ways that people experience oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion. Unfortunately, these groups are not ones that were oppressed many years ago and are not anymore. These are groups that are still facing discrimination and prejudice against still to this day. Therefore, this is why I believe that every American should have to take this class.

This class really made me think about my own privilege. I am white, heterosexual, able bodied, and financially stable. My whole life I grew up with so many great opportunities that helped me get to where I am today. Although I had obstacles along the way, I never faced issues such as discrimination that hindered me from following my dreams. Taking this class truly opened my eyes to how although many oppressed groups have achieved great successes such as slavery being abolished, women gaining rights, gay marriage rights. etc., they still face prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination in just their day to day life.

Oppression is a problem that started so long ago and will probably go on for many years to come. People learn from a young age that the culture they grow up in is the best, or the “right” way to live, therefore any other way is wrong or just not normal. We choose to stick with those we are similar to and tear down those that are different from us. My biggest takeaway from this class was the fact that everyone in society must be educated and try to put themselves in other people’s shoes in order to try and move forward into a more inclusive society. Everyone is different, but we are all people who share this Earth.

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This class just proved to me more that I want to be an inclusive leader. Whether it is in my future classroom and or in the community that I live in, I want everyone that I lead to know that they are welcome and that I accept their ideas. As a leader, it is important to   create an environment where all followers feel included and comfortable to grow and share their ideas, and I strive to be that kind of leader.

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Was taking philosophy morally ok?

Leadership Education

After a whole semester of learning about moral principles and debating whether some very controversial topics are morally ok, I can proudly say I still really don’t know what is and what is not morally right or wrong.

To me, the thought of waking up at 7am sounded like going back to high school, but thanks to Gary Fuller, this class was nothing but boring(most days). Gary was exciting, a little crazy, and a whole lot of passionate when it came to moral philosophy. He wanted us to learn, challenge ourselves, and have fun.

Within this class, I didn’t just learn how to think philosophically, but also how to navigate my way through philosophical issues in this world. Although I was uncomfortable discussing issues such as abortion, gay rights, euthanasia, capital punishment. etc., it forced me out of my comfort zone which is exactly what leaders need to experience, and why not start that at a younger age?

As a leader its good to come across others with different view points as yours. Within this class it allowed me to see others view points that weren’t based off of just opinion. With philosophy, it brings into matters what is morally right and wrong or just and unjust. This allows other to defend sides that may be just to some and unjust to others. It’s a teeter-totter of ideas that get balanced out on determining whether it is right or not. Across the board, there were so many reasonings as to why these topics were morally wrong and right. Being able to have real conversation and see how others perceive things is vital for being a good leader in being able to understand others perspectives and challenge new ones as well.

As I take this knowledge with me in the future, ethics takes an effect in it as well. This ties in with leadership because in order to be an ethical leader you should be virtuous of individuals and their motives. As I continue on through college I strive to be an ethical leader and do whats right in any situation. With this class, it has given me the skills to do just that.

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Gary Fuller’s Christmas Party