Collaboration

Destination Haiti: Round 2 of many

Growing up we are always told to do something we love when we grow up.I loved helping people and I was going to help people by becoming a Physical IMG_0999Therapist. That was my plan and that is what I was going to. It was not until  last summer however that discovered what really makes me happy, my purpose in life.

I discovered Haiti.

I could go on and on about how the negative connotations that come along with Haiti are SO far from the truth (that’s a story for another day). Haiti is a place full of love and community. The people are noIMG_1147thing but welcoming. Last summer, the day I arrived in Haiti happened to by my birthday. Meeting the people I would be staying with for the first time, I never would have expected in my wildest dreams that they would have thrown me  a birthday party. OH WAS I WRONG. TiCarme, the major leader in the village, somehow, I am still unsure how, found out that it was my birthday and planned a party and made me a birthday cake. I instantly fell in love with the country. How often do you see a complete stranger throw someone they don’t know one bit a birthday party? Pretty much never. The next 5 days were nothing short of life changing. I experienced so much while in Haiti. I, my faith, and my passion for helping others grew immensely.

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When it came to leave, I sat on the plane and cried. I did not want to leave. Although the friends I made there said they knew I would be back, God was telling them I would be, I honestly was unsure if I would ever be back and that broke my heart. How could I never return to the country and to the people that changed my life? I couldn’t. It was then that my cousin and I, with the help of our old church Pastor and his wife started to brainstorm. It was here that Help The Youth, a Haitian non-profit grew. Help The Youth i

Help The Youth is non-profit organization that is American funded and Haitian run. Money is raised to help pay the student’s annual school tuition fee. Being able to go to school in Haiti is considered an honor because not many families can afford the $250 fee. In addition to funding for tuition, we collect and donate school and health supplies to the local schooIMG_0943l and clinic in Neply Haiti and surrounding villages. Students from 4-5 villages often go to the same school.

We fundraise year around. A few weeks ago we had out first community fundraiser in my hometown of Holland, Michigan. It was a success. If you are interested in donating to Help The Youth, click here (Be sure to select Haiti in the drop down menu. Every sent donated goes directed to Haiti. No percentage of the donations are used to pay employees. We are also a tax exempt organization in Haiti, which means the organization

SIDE NOTE*****No percentage of the donations are used to pay organization employees. We are also a tax exempt organization in Haiti, which means the organization receives all of the money donated. No percentage goes to their government.

IMG_1041A few months following my trip to Haiti, I was asked to be a part of the Board of Directors for Help The Youth. The country that changed my life was now becoming a huge aspect of my life. A few weeks after that I found out I would be able to return to Haiti the following summer and mostly likely every summer following. At age 19, I was now a co-founder and member of the BOD of an international non-profit organization. Sometimes, the things  that you never consider or never expect become the things that hIMG_1012elp you find your purpose.

Unlike most college students, I am not just a part of a club, the club is a part of me. Haiti and Help The Youth hold a special place in my heart. I am beyond blessed that God lead me to Haiti. If you feel lost, do not worry. God will show you the way to a place where you will discover yourself.

 

 

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Camp Sunshine: The Happiest Place On Earth

This past week I was able to be a counselor at Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a camp for anyone with cognitive or physical disabilities. Camper/Counselor partnerships are one on one. Each camper has their own individual gift and talent and therefore throughout the week we lived by the statement, “Label me able” and got rid of the words disabled and handicapped all together.

 

Throughout the week, I created an unbreakable bond with my camper. She was one of the sweetest, sassiest, and most funny people I know. By the end of the week my camper had opened up to me and told me about all the negative names and words people call her at work and how it makes her feel. This immediately broke my heart. Following her opening up to me, we sat down and had a long conversation about how wonderful she is. A sentence that she said stuck with her that I said was, “God made you and God doesn’t make mistakes.” The rest of the night she repeated this sentence I would say, hundreds of times.

Also by the end of the week we had learned to tell time and to say our alphabet. Seeing how happy this made her warmed my heart.

 

Going into camp all the counselors always talk about how we cant wait to make a difference in our campers life. However, by the end of the first day, we realize that the Camper/Counselor partnership is so much more. Over the course of the week Lori taught me way more than could ever have taught her. This experience was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

 

When working with the population of people who have unique needs, please remember to be respectful.

Theory Application

Leadership Theory: Servant Leadership

What is Servant Leadership: “When leaders place the good of followers over their own self interests and emphasize follower development” (Hale & Fields, 2007)Servant Leadership is classified by 10 characteristics, 3 antecedent conditions, and 7 behaviors.

Characteristics

  1. Listening– Communicate by listening first, validate followers perspectives
  2. Empathy– putting yourself in their shoes; understand what followers are thinking and feeling, confirms and validates the follower making them feel unique
  3. Healing– cares about the personal well being of followers, support followers by helping them overcome personal problems (two way street)
  4. Awareness- attuned and receptive to the their physical social and political environments; understanding oneself and the impact one has on others, awareness for the whole picture
  5. Persuasion- clear and persistent communication that convinces others to change, creates change through the use of gentle non judgemental argument
  6. Conceptualization- an individual’s ability to be a visionary for an organization, equips servant leaders to respond to complex organizational problems in creative ways
  7. Foresight- a servants ability to know the future, ability to predict what is going to come based on what has happened and is happening in the present
  8. Stewardship- taking responsibility in the leadership roles in trusted to the leader, hold the organization in trust for the greater good of society
  9. Commitment to the growth of people- treating each follower as a unique person with intrinsic value; committed to helping each person in the organization to grow personally and professionally (examples: providing followers with opportunity for career development, helping them develop new work skills, taking a personal interest in their ideas, involving them in decision making
  10. Building community- allows followers to identify with something greater than themselves that they value; build community to provide a place where people can feel safe and connected with others but are still allowed to express their own individuality

Antecedent Conditions

  1. Context and culture – the nature of the setting affects the way in which servant leadership is carried out.
  2. Leader attributes – different traits interact with their ability to engage in servant leadership
  3. Follower receptivity – concerns the question, “Do all employees show a desire for servant leadership?” Research suggests no.

Behaviors

  1. Conceptualizing- Refers to the servant leader’s thorough understanding of the organization — it’s purposes, complexities and mission..
  2. Emotional healing- Involves being sensitive to the personal concerns and wellbeing of others; makes themselves available to others, standing by them and providing them with support.
  3. Putting followers first- Using actions and words that clearly demonstrate to followers that they are a priority
  4. Helping followers grow and succeed- Knowing followers’ professional and personal goals and helping them to accomplish those aspirations
  5. Behaving ethically- Doing the right thing in the right way
  6. Empowering- Refers to allowing followers the freedom to be independent, make decisions on their own, and be self sufficient.
  7. Creating value for the community- By continuously and intentionally giving back to the community.

LAS Protocol: LDR 200 Service Trip to Detroit


As part of our LAS protocol we have to take Leadership 200. When students are asked what their favorite part of LDR 200 is they will more than likely say the service trip to Detroit. Prior to the service trip I learned about what Servant Leadership is. As soon as I learned that servant leadership was more than just volunteering, and that it was more of a sate of mine, I knew I wanted to strive to be a servant leader.

The service trip to Detroit was a perfect example of Servant Leadership. Throughout this trip, the people we were serving were always put first. The service trip to Detroit was a great experience. A specific example of servant leadership during the trip was my experience at Blight Busters. Before going out and actually volunteering, the owners/founders of the company gave us a presentation about how they came up with the idea of starting Blight Busters. The owner had said he originally came up with the idea after cleaning up the yard of an abandoned house next to his. His other neighbors showed great appreciation that he was cleaning up with neighborhood. They felt that by him cleaning up the rubble in the neighborhood, the neighbor hood would become safer for their children. This eventually expanded and he as well as others began to clean up other areas of Detroit.  A small action turned into a business that has been a part of helping Detroit back on its feet. The owner said that the goal of the business is just that, to help the City of Detroit and by cleaning up and getting rid of the run down appearance that many people tie to Detroit is the first step to changing the overall opinions of Detroit. When serving with Blight Busters, many of the LASers noticed that there was a little girl volunteering with us. Turns out this little girl volunteers with the Blight Busters every Saturday morning. Blight Busters don’t know where she lies or who her parent are they just know that they can count of this little girl to volunteer every Saturday. This little girl is a perfect example of a servant leader. She was not volunteering because of the recognition or reward she would receive. She volunteered because she knew that it would help the city o Detroit.

Every day I strive to apply this theory to my life. To accomplish this theory, one must dedicate their life to it. Being a servant leader is ore than volunteering, it’s a state of mind.

Year in Review

I can’t believe that my Freshman year of college is over. It seems like just yesterday I was wondering around campus not knowing where I was going looking like a typical Freshman. On move in day I never would have thought that I would become the person I am today. Like many teenagers I thought I knew it all. When moving in I was positive that I would be just fine living on own. Little did I know, I was completely wrong. My transition to college was extremely hard. This was a surprise to me because I have never been a home body. The firs three months of college were all I wanted was to go home. I felt alone. I hadn’t found a place where I thought I belonged.  I would constantly call my older brother crying because I wanted to go home so bad. Unfortunately, I also did  not have a good relationship with my roommates. From the beginning there was constant conflict. Although things with my roommates did not improve over the year, I did still gain many things from living with them.


It wasn’t until close too the end of the semester that I found where I belonged. The student organization that I am involved in traveled to Cedar Point for a fundraiser. It was here that I would met Bailey and Amy. Over the next few months I began to grow closer and closer with them. Now, we are inseparable. Prior to coming to college my parents always told me that I will meet my life long friends in college. I never believed this until now. Bailey and Amy are now my best friends. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for them I don’t know if I would have stated at Central.


Coming out of the first semester I knew I wanted to become more involved second semester. I did just that. During second semester I joined a sorority. Although I ALWAYS said I would never join Greek Life, now I’m very glad I did. It has allowed me to meet many new people. But most importantly it has gotten me more involved not only on campus but off campus as well. Joining Alpha Gama Delta has also provided me with any opportunities to take a leadership role in the chapter. I can say I successful accomplished my goal of being more involved second semester.


Over the course of the last 8 or 9 months I have grown as not only person but as a leader. My collaboration and work ethic are the two skills that have improved the most. Both of these skills are important to possess as a leader. Collaboration assists one in being open minded when brainstorming ideas for a task, a solution to a problem or simply just getting along with a group of people. My work ethic has also greatly improved this year. I have always been a hard worker. However, this year, my academic schedule required a whole new level of work ethic. Quality work ethic is important of leader because it assists them in the completion of tasks.

My first year at CMU has been full of ups and downs. I’ve learned life lessons and I’ve made life long friends. Although it took 5 months to feel at home, I can now say that I love CMU. The relationships I have made with the people here are relationships that will last a lifetime. I cant imagine my life without the friends I made during my Freshman year of college.

I’M A MENTOR

Approximately a year ago today I received my mentor. At that point I really wasn’t sure what a mentor would really do for me other than answer my question. However a year later words cannot explain how much Trino has done for me. Over the past year Trino has become one of my best friends. Due to the wonderful mentee/mentor relationship I am determined to create just as good of a relationship with my mentee as I had with my mentor.


Prior to the mentee work shop I hadn’t thought much about being a mentor. All I knew was that I was excited to be a mentor. The mentor workshop addresses many questions that I hadn’t considered. These question addressed what should you do if you do to help make you mentor feel more comfortable during their first week of college, what should you do to if you mentee comes to you with a serious problem, what should you do to try and form a better relationship and more. When we went around and answered these question my fellow LASers had many great answers and also brought up many other good points that I hadn’t considered. During this conversation, one of the most memorable things said was by the one and only Dan Gaken. He said, “You are holding your mentee’s freshman year in your hands.” Although this statement may seem slightly exaggerated, it is true. The main purpose of a mentor is support. The help and support I offer my mentee will either in my opinion make or break his freshman year or college.

The thing I am most excited for when being mentor is the mentee/mentor relationship. I am going to do my best to make sure that my mentee has a positive first year and that he knows that I am here for him when he needs anything. My mentor and I have such a close relationship that we are road tripping to Florida this summer. I want this quality of a relationship with my mentee. Although a creating a quality relationship is a two way street, I will make sure to do my part in the relationship.

To be an effective mentor I will be sure to contact my mentee often to make sure that he is doing well, if he has any questions or if they want to meet up for lunch or dinner. I will be sure to visit Barnes (the LAS dorm) often.

A week after the mentor workshop was when the mentee draft occurred. My mentee is Harrison Watts. I am beyond excited to meet Harrison and be a part of his freshman year. I can’t wait to share my love for CMU.