Future Child Advocates

Leadership Training

One of my favorite things I have done since being on campus was joining the RSO called Future Child Advocates. This club was formed to help raise awareness for children who don’t have a voice in this world. At our meetings we always discuss ways that we can better inform the students on campus and even people in our lives on how bad domestic violence has gotten. Studies show that 3-4 million children between the ages of 3-17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year. This club has opened my eyes so much to the ways in which I can help children who need a positive adult in their lives and I have also learned what to do in situations in which a child might need serious help.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was offered a spot on the E-Board for this club as the Event Coordinator. I will be in charge of planning any events that we want to do such as fundraisers and programs that we host for children. I am very excited to begin this position and become even more involved in this RSO.

Finally, this RSO has been really good for me because I have learned many things that I can take to my class as a future teacher. Through videos we have watched and guest speakers that we have brought in, I know that I will be able to help any student that may need me and I hope to be that teacher that influences my students in a positive way so that they may see that there is so much good in this world

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Party Planners

Leadership Education, Leadership Training

What: As part of protocol, each LAS student was put into a group that they were interested in and were on the committee for planning any events or activities for that group. I was put on the LEAD team called “Special Events” and were in charge of planning any fun activities for LAS students to do outside of school that brought all the freshman-seniors together for some fun. Some of the events that my group put on were Minute to Win It Game Night, LEAD on Ice, and a final picnic.

So What: Being a part of this group was essential to being a part of LAS because not only did you get a chance to form relationships with the upper classmen, but, you were also put in a leadership position right off the bat. I am very thankful for my group because we were always energetic and we worked together very well when trying to plan events. It was very nice to work with fellow leaders and see all our hard work pay off.

Now What: Because I really enjoyed this lead team, I am thinking that I want to apply to be a part of this group again next year and maybe work my way up to be the leader of this group. I think this group really helped me learn more leadership skills such as teamwork and communication and I look forward to being a part of whatever lead team I get put on!

HST110 Reflection

Leadership Education

As part of my LAS protocol and to fulfill a class for my leadership minor, I was required to take the class HST110 or “An American Experience”. My teacher taught this course focusing on immigration and talking about what immigration was really like starting from the beginning of immigration up until present day. I found this class to be very interesting and at the same time very dry.

Throughout this class, we watch many informative videos about immigration from all different countries and in those movies, we got to hear real stories from immigrants all about their life in America after immigration. Before taking this class I thought I knew a lot about immigration, but with 3 weeks left, I can tell you that I have learned more in these past 13 weeks on the topic than I ever had throughout my public school experience. It was really cool to dive in deep into why immigration was not always great and how even though people say America is amazing, there are still many flaws.

I don’t want to get too political, but this class really got me thinking about everything going on in our world with our current President. It was really interesting to hear about how racist Americans were towards immigrants and how that is kind of repeating itself in todays day and age.

One of the projects we had to do in the class was come up with a leader in America who was an immigrant and make a presentation on where they were from and why they are/were a leader. My group chose to write about John Muir, the creator of our National Parks. If you would like to check out our presentation click here.

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John Muir; founder of National Parks

I think it was very important for my cohort to take this class because of everything that is going on in our world. It really turned my point of view away from myself and more on other people of different races and backgrounds. As leaders it is SO important for us to be inclusive of everyone and knowledgable of people’s background. I believe this class gave me vital information that I can use when I am working with groups from all different backgrounds.

 

LAS in the D: Post trip reflection

Leadership Training

Well everyone it has officially taken me a week and a half to even try to find the words to sum up my 3o hour service trip to Detroit. Our trip was packed with many things to do, each giving me many new concepts to try to digest. I could easily write a book about all the amazing things we did and what I learned, but I’m gonna shorten it down to a blog post ;).

After many snacks and jam sessions, our bus arrived at our first destination: Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Here, we got the chance to interact with the students that teachers picked out as the leaders of their school. We got into smaller groups and got the chance to facilitate activities with them so that we could get to know them and they could get to know us. Then, we broke off into separate rooms and facilitated larger activities where the students were able to learn more about teamwork and communication skills. I loved the atmosphere of my group that we set when writing out our community standards. Our group was very open with each other and we trusted each other and respected what others had to say.

Honestly, my time spent at Jalen Rose was the highlight of the trip for me. The students that were in my group were so happy about all that they learned that one student even asked “When are you guys coming back?” After telling them that it wouldn’t be until the next cohort goes the following year, another student replied with “please hurry.” I really felt like I was impacting these students lives on a deep level and I loved that feeling. As a college student who is pursuing a degree in teaching, working with students is always so fun for me and knowing I am really helping these students makes an even bigger impact on my life. Because this school is located in the heart of Detroit, it really hit me knowing that they don’t get a lot of the experiences that I got in high school due to low funding in their area. To even see the passion that the teachers there had for their job and the love that the students had for their teachers was so powering to me.

After an energetic afternoon, our blood sugar dropped and we arrived at the Quicken Loans building in the center of Campus Martius for some yummy pizza. Honestly, when I first heard we were going to Quicken Loans and having pizza I didn’t really understand how to two really went with each other, but I quickly learned. We had the chance to meet the Vice President of Strategy at Quicken Loans, John Fikany, who took time out of his weekend to come talk to a group of CMU students about how much he loved his job and CMU(did I mention he is a Chippewa alumni?). I have never seen such passion in a person before. I mean this man REALLY loved his job and it really showed. It was the first time that I heard someone actually say that they took a job at a company because of the companies why statement. Being able to hear someone speak so passionately about their job, got me really fired up to be in the teaching world and spreading my passion around to all my future students because I know that when people see how passionate you are, they get passionate too. After hearing John’s speech, we got to see the action come to life when taking a tour of the Quicken Loans building and really seeing why they are ranked the #5 place to work in the world.

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they let us take free slushies from the kitchen!

After being surrounded by so many people, it was perfect timing that we made a stop at the DIA. I had gone to the DIA a couple of times before this trip and loved every single experience there. I find it such a great time to just reflect and not really think about what is going on around you and just soak up the amazing art. During this time, I walked around the exhibits with my roommate Sophie and we just reflected on what we had already experienced, but we also walked in silence sometimes just to let each other focus on how we were feeling.

Finally, to conclude the day, it was time for some real fun; the run around a huge adventure center and be a 5-year-old kind of fun. For those of you who think that sounds like fun, I would definitely recommend checking out the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center. It is owned by a woman whose son is in LAS and she has such a heart for this place and has been working on it since the beginning. We got the chance to hear all about how it came to be and how it has taught so many people about the wonderful northern Michigan. We even got the chance to play for about 30 minutes and it felt so good to be a kid again.

After getting a whopping 3 hours of sleep(which is a whole other story), our group headed to CASS Community Social Services where we got to volunteer in many different areas where help was needed. For those of you who don’t know, CASS is a great program that hires homeless men and woman to help get them back on their feet and build their resume again. They provide housing for them to live in too which is really great for them. My job while we were there was to sort and organize all the donations that they received and boy was I excited! Organizing is right up my alley. I will say at some parts it got a little frustrating. We were given instructions at one point and then given totally different instructions at a different point which caused us to have to unsort everything and resort it. I felt myself getting a little annoyed and quickly whipped myself back in shape and told myself that I was there to help them and I needed to have a positive attitude and be ok with the change. It was really cool to see the outcome of everything all neat and tidy and I know that we were really helping them out by doing that. I LOVE volunteering and so doing this made me very happy.

“So What”– What did I learn from all this you may ask? I learned so much about passion. If you have the passion and drive to do what you want, you honestly can achieve it as cliché as it sounds. But from everywhere I went from Jalen Rose to Quicken Loans, the teachers and the workers absolutely love what they do because they have such a passion for what they do. The passion that I talked about also has so much impact on leadership. The place where I saw the most leadership was at Jalen Rose with one of the teachers. I touched on it a little earlier but when these students saw this teacher, they would get the biggest smile on their face and would run up to him. Maybe it helps that he was the leadership teacher 😉 But just seeing that and knowing that teacher must be such a positive role model in those students lives in order for them to act that way, really gave me something to look forward to in my future.

If we are talking just generally about Detroit, I learned a lot about how things like Quicken Loans and the Outdoor Adventure Center really changed the heart of Detroit. Hearing about how bringing Quicken Loans into the center of Detroit helped the city SO much was really positive because you can tell that Detroit has worked so hard to bring back many businesses and it is definitely helping them. But Detroit isn’t just about Campus Martius. Yes, it was cool to expereince the really nice part of Detroit, but it still isn’t all like that. To me, hearing about what CASS is doing to help homeless men and women get a job and build a resume just put the biggest smile on my face. I had always wondered if places like that existed and if they didn’t, why? I heard a story about a man who got a job at CASS and is currently taking classes at a community college and is getting ready to transfer over to Oakland University to continue his college careeer: I got goosebumps. I learned how important it is to keep an open mind because you learn so much more when you are willing to hear more than what you want to hear.

“Now what”= And finally we’ve arrived at the big part of this blog post and a big part of what we talked about on the trip and that is “how are we going to take what we learned and apply it to our lives back at CMU or just in the world?” First off, I just want to take back all the passion that I saw not only in a lot of the leaders at the places we visited, but also just the passion that I saw in so many of my cohort members. A lot of my cohort cares so much about Detroit and it was so cool to see so many of them getting so into all the things we were doing and it really motivated me to get more involved in the things I am passionate about like kids and music. This trip also really motivated me to be more of an active leader and push myself to find so many more things to get involved in and maybe even find more ideas to become passionate about.

Before going on this trip, I was really struggling with the idea of “changing the world” because I have never really seen myself to be someone who could do that. After going on this trip and meeting John Fikany, a CMU alumni who is the Vice President of Strategy at one of the top companies in the world, my mind was just blown. Bringing Quicken Loans to Detroit has helped Detroit thrive as a city and knowing that someone who was once at CMU helped make that happen was just so cool. And no, he isn’t “changing the world” but he is working the make parts of the world better and I know I can do that.

I applied those thoughts to what I learned at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Many teachers who work in areas like Detroit and other rural cities are teachers who don’t want to be there or, they are teachers that are so passionate and want to help those students succeed because they know that all students deserve an equal education. Seeing the teachers at Jalen Rose and knowing that they were so passionate about their jobs and loved what they were doing just really fired me up. Who knows, maybe one day God will call me to teach in an area like Detroit. If that day were to come, I know that I would use what I experienced on this trip and I would inspire and motivate my students to inspire others one day with their passions.

I am so beyond thankful for this trip and my LAS cohort. Life just wouldn’t be the same without it.

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my cohort in the Jalen Rose gym. Photo cred to Vincent Thurman

Gearing up

Leadership Training

I am so excited to announce that this weekend I will be joining my wonderful LAS cohort on a service project to Detroit on Friday and Saturday! We will working with many non-profit organizations while learning more about Detroit’s history. I will be writing two blog posts on my pre and post thoughts of the trip.

Detroit has gone through quite a ride of ups and downs and I am so humbled to help serve in a city that is very near and dear to my heart. Right now, there are many social issues happening in Detroit. Although I have not experienced them myself, some of the issues that I have heard of are poverty, racism, and crime. Many times when I visit Detroit whether it is with family or friends, one of the most said quotes of the time is “stick nearby” or “buddy up” because many tourists fear the city. Although I have witnessed poverty in the city in person, issues such as crime and racism I have only heard about many times through the media.

Part of the reason my cohort is going on this trip is because of the Leadership Institute’s purpose and vision which states:

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.

It is incredibly important that as leaders we are humble to every society and know how to lead in any situation and culture that we are in. This service learning experience will help us as young leaders learn what it is like to lead in a “complex society” and it will open our eyes to all new experiences while humbling us to how blessed we are. This experience will also push us to further the quality of life in a town that needs more emerging leaders! Although we won’t be able to change the whole city of Detroit, we will be making some sort of difference and that is all that matters.

Finally, I am looking forward to growing as an individual from this experience. I am excited to spend the night in the city and just keep my eyes open to what I am experiencing. After talking to my mentor about this trip, she says “what you put in is what you get out” and I am very ready to put my all in so that I can further grow my knowledge in every aspect that this trip has to offer.

 

“But why?”

Leadership Education

For those of you who read my blog post about Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk called “Start With Why”, this post will be a follow-up to an even deeper discussion that my LAS cohort discussed about it in class. For those of you who have never heard of or seen the ted talk, I would recommend you read my blog post about it here!

Last week, my leadership class was assigned an assignment to watch the ted talk before coming to class. In class we discussed why we thought “why” was so important. Why is that everyone follows why you do something and not what you do? To us as leaders, we found this topic very important because we want to appeal to people through our passions and actions and not just because we may be called a leader. We began looking at different businesses “why” statements and even different leaders’ around the world.

We were then asked to buddy up with a classmate and describe to them our passions, our role models, things that make us mad, sad, happy, etc., thus helping one another form our why statements; why we do what we do.

If you had the chance to read my blog post about “Start With Why” you would’ve seen that I originally created my own why statement. However, after my class I wanted to write a better one. I later met with other classmates asking them for their opinions and seeing how they view me as a person and a leader, thus giving me my new why statement:

“Inspire others to love fearlessly and serve endlessly”

I am a firm believer in the power of love and sometimes I feel that I let the power of love keep me from really giving my all to something. I want everyone to find something that they love to do and do it without any fear. I also feel that as a Christian, one of my duties is to serve others until the day I die. I also just love serving others any way possible and it is something I want to do forever.

It’s ok to just say “no”. In fact, it’s better!

Leadership Education, Uncategorized

Recently, my cohort was asked to think about whether “leadership comes from saying the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” After first reading the prompt, I honestly didn’t even get what the question was asking, hence why it has taken me a whole week to even write this post.

I let this question sit in my head for days as I tried applying it to my life and to the leadership positions I have been in. How many times have I said no? Has it helped me become a better leader? What about famous people? What famous leaders said “no”? 

BOOM. That was when it hit me. Leadership comes from saying “no!”

Many of our nations greatest leaders were the ones who refused to conform to what the world was telling them. One of the greatest leaders who comes to my mind is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks did not let anyone tell her what to do because she was a colored woman thus leading to her title as “the first lady of civil rights”. Her will to say no led her to become an amazing leader of her time.

Sometimes, especially for me, saying no sounds so mean and sometimes I shy out of saying no because I don’t want people to dislike me. And that is what we call a people pleaser. Dr Caren Aviv says “people pleasing is looking externally for affirmation, acceptance, and approval, rather than looking inwards”.I’m over living like that. How am I supposed to grow as a leader when I just conform to what everyone else says. As a leader, it is my job to stick up for what I am passionate about and say no to the things that I do not support. Saying no leads you to push yourself to become stronger and more independent in what you believe in.

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So from here, I invite you to look back on your life and how many times you let the word “no” stop you from sticking up for your passions and how many times you let the word “no” empower you and help you grow. Because when you start saying “no” to more things, I promise some serious growth will come out of it.

 

 

 

Ellen DeGeneres. Or, as Grace used to call her, Ellen the generous.

Leadership Education

When I first say the name “Ellen DeGeneres”, what comes to your mind? Her tv show? Her humor? All the awesome gifts she gives away? Dory from Finding Nemo?

Do her leadership qualities stick out?

For me, Ellen is one of the most inspiring and motivated leaders I can think of. Not only is she insanely spirited and fun, she also is very passionate and her passions are what motivate people to do good in the world. Some of Ellen’s strongest passions are women’s rights, animals, bullying, and gay rights. Although Ellen’s show is seen as a comedy and brings comic relief to everyone’s every day life, Ellen uses her show to bring awareness to such issues in this world. Ellen also uses her show to bring in people who need help and uses her offerings to provide for them in ways that will bring them so much joy. Although she has millions of dollars, she isn’t the type to use it all on herself but to give it away for people who really need it. Because of her kindness and humbleness, Ellen was awarded the Medal of Freedom given to her by Barack Obama.

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Ellen receiving the Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor—it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”-Barack Obama

So, next time you tune into the Ellen DeGeneres show, I would encourage you to pay close attention to all the amazing deeds that Ellen does to change this world for the better. Maybe even her humor encourages you to become a better person(cause I know it does for me!). Aside from her humor though, pay attention to the ways that she supports humans and even animals and the ways she brings joy to people and motivates them to make an impact on the world.

Here are some of my favorite quotes by Ellen! Enjoy 🙂

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”

“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come. ”

“Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others. ”

All quotes are from BrainyQuote.com

 

 

Finding That Spark!

Leadership Training

What’s being a leader without going to many leadership events??

This past Friday I was able to spend a chunk of my day at an event called Spark that the Leadership Institute here at CMU puts on for any student on campus that wants to better their leadership skills. As a part of this event, we took time to really learn about leadership styles and what our leadership styles are. There are 4 leadership styles: direct, spirited, systematic, and considerate. I scored the highest in the considerate leader style, meaning that as a leader I work to accommodate everyone’s needs in the group and help maintain team harmony. Although I scored highly in this style, I can also see a little bit of myself in each of the other categories and that’s whats important. No leadership style is better or more important than another. Each style works together to be successful.

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picture by the Leadership Institute staff

After leaving Spark, I am now very eager to work with groups and use the strengths of my style to help lead. I am also looking forward to challenging myself to become better in the other categories as well. One style that I would like to work on is becoming more of a spirited leader as well. I want to be able to provide a spark to groups when their energy seems to be dragging or just be more spontaneous. I know that a lot of my favorite leaders were the ones who were very fired up and that made me more excited as well. I encourage you to find which leadership style best describes you and to read into it more! Everyone is a leader whether or not you think you are.

 

Leadership Lecture #1

Leadership Training

If you read my Connections blog post you would’ve read about my favorite lecture on the trip, but, I would like to share another one that really spoke to me personally while also on a leadership scale as well. For those of you who know the Peterson family, you know that the arts is something we are all very passionate about so when I saw a lecture titled “Dancing Through Social Change”, I knew I had to go. This lecture talked a lot on how the arts: dancing, singing, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, etc. really ties people together and speaks through people. Not everyone loves public speaking, but they may love getting in front of a crowd and dancing. One example we talked about was with Bindi Irwin’s experience on Dancing with the Stars. Before appearing on the TV show, Bindi didn’t really like talking about the loss of her Father, and it wasn’t until the dance practices leading up to the performance that she really broke down about it. I personally connected with this a lot after losing my Grandma. My Grandma was also a lover of music and she had a beautiful voice. After she passed away, I would listen to her favorite classical pieces and I would feel like I was sitting in her living room listening to them with her. In connecting this to my leadership style, I realized that I can use my musical talents such as dancing and playing my clarinet to really showcase and spread my passions. I don’t have to stand in front of a crowd and talk about how to change America or become a better leader, I can display through things I love.

 

Link to Bindi’s performance here! I would definitely take the few minutes to watch.