Identity Development

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.

 

 

A new way of life!

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A few months ago I decided that I was going to change my lifestyle. I was sick of feeling sluggish and squishy (LOL my way of saying out of shape). I quit making excuses and got my butt off the couch and to the gym. That was in November of 2015. Since then, I have lost a total of 30 pounds and gained massive amounts of CONFIDENCE.

People often ask me, “what motivates you to change,” “how do you stick with it?” The best answer I have for them is that I QUIT MAKING EXCUSES and telling myself that losing weight was impossible while in college or that I just have bad genes and I could never be skinny. Shaping your body into the way you want is something you ARE CAPABLE of doing! Isn’t that motivation in itself?Your body is the one thing you can do what ever you want with!

At the beginning of my fitness journey, I was doing everything on my own. I quit snacking late at night (one of the hardest things for me to overcome), and began to eat healthier. Overall I wasn’t eating the bad before, however, I was eating TOO MUCH. By January I had lost around 13 pounds. Obviously I was happy with the progress I had made thus far, but at this point I was finally starting to feel confident in my own skin, how could I quit now?! So I didn’t.

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Then, to my luck, my cousin contacted me regarding a program called 21 Day Fix Extreme through Beachbody. It was here that my passion for health, fitness and nutrition took off. The program taught me how to eat clean in the correct portion size! This was huge for me. I now no longer eat dairy, and I’m on a completely clean diet. I hate to use the word diet though because I am not starving myself. I’m never hungry! I still eat out, I just order smart. I still eat desserts, but change out certain ingredients for healthier ones.  I started this program in January. For the first 3 weeks I followed the program religiously, however, now I’m starting to become a little more flexible because I’m beginning to understand and learn what works for me. Everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Experiment, figure out what works for you. As of today, I’m town 27 pounds and feeling great!

Although the physical changes are visible, I feel like a completely different person. This journey has taught me so much about myself. I have gained immense amounts of confidence. I’ve learned that the number on the scale DOES NOT MATTER. It’s the way YOU FEEL that matters. I’ve made new friends with a similar passion for fitness who have helped and encouraged me along the way! I couldn’t have done it without them!

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I’m now to a point where people are beginning to come to me for advice and tips. It warms my heart when people tell me I was there motivation to become healthier. Trust me when I tell you this, if a full time college student, who lives in the dorms, and also works two jobs can do it, SO CAN YOU!

A few months ago I can across a quote that I now live by:

“Power is a passion in itself”

… Find the power to get up in the morning and workout, find the power to ignore the tray of chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria, find the power to take the stairs after a long day instead of taking the elevator. Find the power and determination to become healthier and it was become a passion, something you love!

My days are long and busy like every other college student out there, but I find time to workout everyday no matter what. It’s my way of stress relieve. If it wasn’t for the gym, I’d probably be bald at this point from pulling all my hair out (LOL).

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Throughout my journey I found a passion for health, fitness and nutrition. I am now currently in the process of getting my personal training certification. Becoming healthy is not easy. It’s involves breaking habits that we have had for months, weeks or even heard!  But it’s worth it and that’s why I have decided to get certified. I want to help others achieve their fitness goals and becoming the best person they can be!

If you are unhappy with your body, I challenge you to accept the challenge of change. Start today, not tomorrow, not on Monday, TODAY! You can do it!

Check out my Instagram (Jenniferkae) if you’re interested in advice and motivation on achieving your goals! Believe in yourself, your mind is the only thing holding you body back from accomplishing what you want it to!

 

THATS MY MENTEE

IMG_1401Being a mentor has been a great experience. However, it is a lot harder than I had expected. My mentor and I are very close, we hang out every week, and make dinner for each other all the time, he is more of a brother to me than a friend. My mentee and I however, are not as close.

Going into this experience I had a goal to not be a mentor who never talked to their mentee, and I believe I have accomplished that goal. But frankly, I do wish that I would have spent more time with my mentee during his freshmen year at college. I know how important and helpful it was to have my mentor there for me whenever I needed him, and looking back, I do  have regrets about feeling like I did not make it clear to my mentee that I was there for  him.

Being busy is not an excuse. EVERYONE IS BUSY. It is  important to make time for those you  care about. Being an LAS scholar, I have a responsibility to help those younger than me. I know for a fact I would not be where I was today if it weren’t for other LASers helping me over the course  of the last two years. IMG_1397

Being a mentor has taught me that although being there for someone 24/7 is not easy, it sure it worth it. It means a lot to that person to have someone to  go to whenever they may have a question. I know Harrison is going to be a great mentor and I cannot wait to meet the new addition  to the LAS Platinum Fam! He has accomplished many great things thus far, and I couldnt be more proud of him for how much he has grown!

 

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.

Does Leadership start with a “yes” or a “no”?

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Leadership is about growing and one cannot grow if they are not open to new experiences. One cannot experience new things if they say “no” when offered a new opportunity. Therefore leadership starts with a “YES.”

Saying yes to one new opportunity has to potential to open to door to many other opportunities. I believe it to be as simple as that. If one does not say “yes” they will not have as many chances to participate in new experiences or opportunities that will help them to grow as leaders. Saying “yes” to the Leader Advancement Scholarship has opened up countless doors for me during my first year at CMU. If I would have turned down the offer, I would not be the leader I am today. Saying “yes” was one of the best decision I made for myself as a leader.

Because I believe that Leadership starts with a “yes” I always try to say “yes” to new opportunities when I am offered one. I will encourage others to do the same as well. One can always say yes and then later decide that that opportunity was not for them with is better than saying “no” and never knowing what may have come from the opportunity.

I challenge you to say “yes” to the next opportunity you are offered as a leader. Step outside of your comfort zone and experience something new.

Don’t feed the Trolls.

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Seth Godin’s blog post titled The Trolls Inside interested me.

He talked about how there are negative people all over. They are mean internet comments and anonymous critics. But the worst troll is the troll is in your head. I believe this to be completely true. One can learn to brush off the mean comments of others, but brushing off the negative thoughts you have about yourself are the hardest to conquer. These trolls in your head unfortunately have the ability to greatly affects ones success,

Every time that the troll in my head tells me I can’t do something I think back to Seth Godin’s post.

“Do not feed the troll. Do not reason with the troll.Do not argue with the troll.”

The trolls in my head will not tell me I can’t. They will not tear me down. They will not affect my ability to succeed.

I can and I will succeed.

Interested in Seth Godin’s blog? Click HERE.

1000 to 1: Cory Weissman

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Cory Weissman is an inspiration to many and is also someone who gained my respect. Weissman was one of the main players on his high school basketball team by finishing high school with 1000 career points.In 2009, Cory, a freshman who wen on to play basketball on the Gettysburg College basketball team had a stoke leaving the entire left side of his body paralyzed. The next three years of his life he fought his way back. Throughout the long three years of recovery he never gave up. Basketball was his motivation. Basketball was Weissman’s life and he knew that the only thing that would make him happy is if he could get back on the court for a game. Cory’s finally was rewarded for all his hard work his senior year of college. His coach let him play. Not only was Cory back on the court but he also made his first ever college career point.

A inspiring movie was made showing the struggles and achievements of Cory’s experience. The movie is called 1000 to 1.

Cory is a leader for many reasons. People look up to him. Cory fought death and overcame challenges that the doctors told him were never possible. This is why others are motivated by Cory. He did what he was told was impossible. He did this by never losing hope even when others lost hope in him. I admire that Cory never gave up. Three years is a very long time to keep pursuing a dream that may not even be possible. Now, Cory is 24 and continues to play basketball for fun. Cory is passing on his love and dedication of the sport to his fellow players. Cory’s leadership has affected me because I can personally relate. My 8th grade year I fractured my L5 while at Figure Skating Practice. I had 4 long years of recovery. I personally know how hard it can be to overcome something that crushed your dreams. But Cory did it and I did it. He is an inspiration to many and continues to be an inspiration as he resides in Los Angeles as a Personal Trainer.

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Resolution Reflection

2014 was a year full of amazing leadership opportunities and experiences. I’m going to strive to make 2015 even more beneficial. Ever since getting to college I’ve been very busy with school and the overall transition to college life that I unfortunately didn’t prioritize much school and community involvement into my schedule. This year I want that to change. I am going to change this by doing the following.

  • Stepping outside of my comfort zone: Stepping out of my comfort zone will not only help me in getting out and becoming more involved but it will also help me grow as a person.
  • I will not pass up opportunities that I am presented with: Last semester I missed some opportunities because I would put off filling out an application or would wait last minute to do homework and therefore couldn’t make it to an event. This semester I will be more efficient and purposeful when presented with an opportunity.

 As of right now I am currently signed up to participate in the Polar Plunge in February. I’ve raised a total of 200 dollars in just two days. I continue to fundraise and promote the event as much as I can because Special Olympics is something I am very passionate about.  I am also registered to be a counselor at Camp Sunshine, a week long camp for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities. Becoming part of Greek life has also recently sparked by interest so I have decided to participate for spring recruitment. I will continue to be part of the Student Athletic Training Organization. However, I want to become more involved in the organization.

In 2015 I will become an LAS mentor myself. Through this I will be allowed to share my knowledge with an incoming LAS freshman. I am so beyond excited to be a mentor. My mentor has become one of my best friends and I hope that I can create the same relationship with my mentee that I had with my mentor. The mentee/mentor relationship is something that I feel is very important.

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As part of 2015, I will also have completed by Freshmen year of college. Which seems crazy to me because it feels like I submitted my application to CMU just yesterday. 2015 I plan to better myself as a leader by becoming more involved and making sure that I share my knowledge regarding leadership with other to assist them in bettering themselves as well.