Effective Communication

Haiti Round 3… but with a twist

Three years ago this upcoming July I will have been part of an organization called Help The Youth Haiti for 3 years. Only a year after I helped grow this organization I took on a leadership role. I hope this role still to today. The role was to plan and facilitate the activities and events that group would be doing when we all traveled to Haiti in July. Originally I thought this role was going to be easy. I have held similar roles in the last so I wasn’t too worried. Little to my knowledge, it was a lot more difficult than anything I have every done. thumbnail_FullSizeRender

My biggest struggle in this role was communication. By that, I mean communication to our Haitian counterparts. Language wasn’t a problem because most of the people we work with in Haiti know English. The hard part was being able to maintain regular communication. This was due to their limited access to Internet and phone. But yet, another obstacle was thrown my way. As many know a hurricane hit Haiti earlier this year. Any forms of communication they had was now gone. We went weeks without knowing how thigs were, let alone if our friends were still alive. 

Despite the many obstacles thrown my way, this has been a great experience. This upcoming July the trip will consist of a few new events. We will be running a free CPR and first Aid seminar in order to teach people how to respond in emergencies. We will also be planning and facilitation vacation bible school for the children and a pastor’s conference for the pastors in the community. Unfortunately, I am not able to travel to Haiti this July due to academic reasons ( I will be taking physics 2), however, I chose to remain actively involved in my role. jkjkj

This experience has taught me to patient and willing to adapt. Things don’t always work out they way they are planned. Also, this experience has taught me to be creative. The supplies, money, and resources available to us were a lot more limited than I was aware of prior to taking on this role. Thus, when planning events such as vacation bible school, where craft supplies are usually found in surplus, I had to be creative in coming up with crafts that would use only construction power, popsicle sticks, and 4 bottles of glue. thumbnail_IMG_4486

I’m disappointed that I cannot travel to Haiti this summer. However, I remain in contact with my friends. The bond I have formed while in Haiti have only grown stronger since the first time I’ve been there. My involvement and leadership role Help The Youth has been one of the most benefiting, eye-opening experiences of my life. It has taught me so much as about my myself. You may think that it is a little dramatic when I say that this organization and the people I have met have changed my perspective on life. 

OH OH OH! We are also in the progress of trying to get a few of our friends passports to come to the U.S.

STAY TUNED!! 

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Project UNIFY

Normally I try to come up with some creative blog title, but in this case I decided to be direct Project Unify is an outstanding program and I want to get its name out there! If you haven’t worked with Special Olympics AT LEAST ONCE, you’re missing out. 14732402_10208542498693537_6141825387487114860_n

I’m a junior in college and for the past 3 years, every fall, I participate in Project Unify. Project Unify is a program through Special Olympics Michigan. My involvement in this program is as a facilitator. I, along with 20 or so other college students, volunteered a few nights a week for a few weeks to prep for this program. The event itself is one day and was hosted at a hotel conference center right here in Mt.Pleasant. The day consisted of leadership challenges, problem-solving, team-work, games, crafts, dancing, and FUN. Project UNIFY is directed toward students both with and without different abilities.

I had the honor of facilitating team PLUTO PURPLE! My team was very involved in all the activities and always had something to say when questions were asked. It always tough to have a group that doesn’t actively participate and thus I was ecstatic that my group was so involved in what we were doing.

One of my favorite activities had to do with communication. There was a group of sports balls in a pile in the middle of the room. Around the pile of balls were the students standing in a circle.  Each student was given a number. The goal was to find the ball with the matching number. We did this 2 or 3 times. However, each time there were different rules. The first time, everyone was able to talk. The second time, no one was able to talk, and the third time, only 3 or 4 people were able to talk. These different scenarios helped to teach the students that in different, situations different types of communication may be the most suitable; sometimes it is important to actively communicate, and sometimes it is best to sit back and let others speak.

Being a part of this program is always a pleasure. The students show so much passion. The desire to take what they learned at the workshop and bring it back to their own school is amazing to see! Each year I see familiar faces from the year before and that has to be one of my favorite things, knowing that these students want to keep coming back.

The Bone Song is Wrong

WATCH THE VIDEO….

This is a song many children learn in their elementary ed gym class. You probably learned it at one point in your education too, am I right?  But sorry to break it to all you intellectuals out there, but you’ve been taught wrong. Very wrong. 

For the last year, I have volunteered around 32 hours in the Anatomy Lab. I am a Teaching Assistant for the Anatomy Cadaver Lab here at Central Michigan University. A lot of my friends ask why I volunteer my time to go teach freshman anatomy every Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 am to 10:45 am. And here’s the answer….

  1. It’s helped to expand my knowledge of the human body immensely as well as keep the info fresh in my brain. This is important for many reasons. In June, I will start applying to Physical Therapy graduate programs. Knowing the structure and function of the body and being able to recall that info without much thought it important for success as a Physical Therapist. Thus, keeping my anatomy knowledge fresh as well as expanding on it is benefitting my future.
  2. I think it’s freaking awesome to be able to see an actual heart, brain, lungs, etc. Then again that is what makes me the person I am.
  3. Connections and friendships. I worked with two outstanding Graduate Assistants that have provided me with so much knowledge and advice. I’ve also been able to  work closely with Professor Salt who has helped me in so many ways on my way  to reach my Grad School goals. Also, making friends with similar interests and are enrolled in some of the same classes is always nice too.
  4. I like to help others learn. Anatomy is an important class for anyone going into the health field. Understanding the structure and function of the human body is key. It is something that must be understood for success in almost any career in the health and/or medical field. Being able to help students achieve this understanding is something I enjoy. 

In fact, today I interviewed to become an official Anatomy Lab Teaching Assistant rather than a volunteer one. 

“It’s a requirement”

As a college student, I hear professors and advisors often say “It’s a r-e-q-u-i-r-e-m-e-n-t. You must do it.” Sometimes these requuiemtns are things that I dread. For  example, having to take Organic Chemistry and Physics next semester. But hey, orgo can’t be as bad as it’s portrayed in the movies right?  IMG_2518 (1)

One of the main  reasons I chose Central Michigan University was because of an amazing opportunity I was offered. I was offered the opportunity to compete in the  Leader Advancement Scholar Competition  Day. The LAS scholarship is an honor and I was lucky enough to be selected along with 4o other students out of a pool of over 2000 applicants to be offered the schoarship. The scholarship  is based off of character, leadership, community and school involvement. My LAS cohort has become my family here at Central. The schoalrhsip reward applies to all four year of my undergraduate years here at CMU. In order to ensure that I continue to recieve the scholarhsip reward there are, yes I’m sure you know what I am going to say, requirements. The requirements are nothing crazy! I have to maintain a good GPA, (being a nerd, this isn’t a problem lol), along with completing certain classes, leadership experiences and volunteer hours.

I’m going to talk about the volunteer hours specifically because I feel like people often feel  that volunteering isn’t fun and think of it more as a chore than a good way to spend their time. I personally LOVE volunteering. Throughout highschool I volunteered at least 3-5 hours a week. When I got to college, this number dereased. But I thank LAS for making it a reuirements  because it forced me to find the time to fit volunteering into my schedule And like I mentioned earlier, I LOVE it.

This year however, I’ve been slacking. To be completly honest, I kind of forgot that I had to do required hours for LAS until a fellow LASer mentioned in class that our volunteer reflection was due April 1st. So here I am, writing this reflection  with only half of my voluntter hours done. BUT, on April 9th I will be completing these hours by volunteering and participating in Relay For Life. I am very excited for this because Relay For Life is a big event at CMU and in many other places and I have never been able to participate. Despite  all the great things I have heard from people about Relay, I have never actually volunteered at it and this year will be  my first time. I was lucy enough to get this opportunity by being apart of the CMU Pre-PT Club. Through them I chose to be apaprt of the planning commitee and help to plan what out RSO will be doing for the event.

My other hours came from volunteering in the Special Olympics Lead Team in the spring. This was a great opporunity and volunteering with SOMI is something I always look  forward to. Today, I actually signed up to volunteer at the Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games that CMU hosts every June.

IN NEED OF YOUR HELP

Students Help The Youth is sponsoring to attend school.

Hello my friends, this post is being written to ask you of a favor. As posted about earlier, I traveled to Haiti this summer and worked with an organization called Help the Youth that helps to send children to school. In July, the organization had raised enough money to send 100 student to school. This was HUGE for them. However, sadly, we just received a call from Ticarme, the director of Help the Youth. This phone call was not one of happiness. Unfortunately, the annual school tuition has been raised significantly and the organization can no longer afford too send all of its student to school. 10,000 dollars needs to be raised by September in order to assure that these students can receive an education this year. Please, Ticarme and her students need our help!

DONATION INSTRUCTIONS

Please visit beautifulresponse.org to donate! Once here, click “Give” in the top right hand corner. This will bring you to a new page. From here select “HAITI” in the drop down menu as well as fill out the rest of the information asked for.


Thank you so much for any support you are willing to offer. The students I met while visiting Haiti in July touched my heart, so please help me in touching theirs by sponsoring them to attend school.

Haiti: A country rich with love

Two weeks ago my cousin and I went on a mission trip to Haiti. The trip was life changing to say the least. Check out the videos below to see what we were up to on our trip!

Possibly interested in joining us on a trip to Haiti? Feel free to contact me with any questions!

Interested in donating to the Mission and helping send students to school visit Beautiful Response and click donate to Help The Youth.

VLOG 1

VLOG 2

VLOG 3

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.

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.