Pulling into Washington D.C. at 7:30 a.m., two hours earlier than we had expected something hit me. It wasn’t the stale car smell from being in the car since 10 p.m. It wasn’t everyone commenting on the amount of seafood restaurants, which is odd. What hit me was the fact that I was a site leader for this break. My co-site leader and I had the power to, in theory, make or break this break. Looking back, I realize how dramatic I was but at the time I could feel the pressure. During my 2015 spring break, I spent my time leading along side another amazing Central Michigan University student (she’s the princess of CMU). We traveled down to Washington D.C. with a group of 9 students. The mission of our week was to work along side the Beacon House staff.
The Beacon House is a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides tutoring, mentoring, cultural, athletic, recreation, and nutrition programs to at-risk, low-income children, ages 5-18, who reside in and around the Edgewood Commons community in Ward 5 of Washington, D.C. This mission is to assist at-risk youth to identify and pursue educational objectives that culminate in college or vocational training, and, more generally, to prepare them for productive involvement in their community and society. Since 1991, when Beacon House was founded, their goal has always been to lift as many children as possible up and out of their often difficult circumstances.
During the first half of the day we helped clean and organized the facility in preparation for their Black History Month celebration. The Black History Month celebration had been postponed due to weather. The second half of the day we spent with the kids. We did homework, read and hung out. These were some of the sweetest and most interesting students I have ever met.
What is Leadershape?
A few months ago I signed up for a program called “Leadershape.” Everything I had ever heard about this program was “I can’t explain it, but it changes your life.” That isn’t very descriptive… Going into this ‘life changing program’ I didn’t know what to expect. I assumed it would be an awesome experience but I under estimated the impact the program would have on me. Being the skeptic that I am, I was hesitant to dive right into the program. I found myself sitting back and watching. That was my biggest regret of the week. This week I surrounded myself with some of the most kind hearted and impactful people I have ever experienced. Leadershape opened my eyes to myself. It showed me that I have the ability to stand up for what I believe in, stick to my core values and do something amazing in the world.
My sophomore year of college was extremely difficult. It put me in a bad place. This school year forced me to second guess myself. I felt lost. I felt dumb. It drained me of the enthusiasm for life I once had. This week rejuvenated me. I feel enabled, confident and that I have a million options again.
Leadershape is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. Everyone should experience this program. It is amazing how much of a change I felt and saw not just in myself but the entire group.
Now I plan on being an active citizen to conquering my dreams. In my perfect world children would never spend anytime waiting in the foster care/adoption system. Every person/couple seeking to create a family would choose to adopt instead of having a biological child. A family is a family, whether it’s biological or not.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Eagle Village was successful yet again. Last year I went as a mentee, now I’m a mentor. I’ve been through all of my firsts so now it was time to watch my mentee’s leadership style. We climbed high ropes courses, challenged ourselves, built relationships and had an amazing weekend. We worked closely with members of the 2012 and 2013 cohort. Now I get to watch my mentee grow, build relationships, get involved and be a leader. I’m extremely excited to watch their cohort. I have good vibes about them.
Cheers to a new year. With my 2012 LAS cohort and the brand new 2013 cohort.Cheers to my wonderful mentee. He challenged me, spoke up in the group and stepped up for challenges. I’m extremely excited to see where he goes with not only a broadcasting major, his time at Central but, most importantly running his own magic company: The Magic of Trino. I can’t wait to watch my baby mentee blossom.
Layout for the day:
1.) Wake up late.
2.) Realize you don’t have enough time in the day.
3.) Get clothing on-ish.
4.) Pull a prank on your neighbor.
5.) Get ready.
6.) Finish the posters you neglected all weekend.
7.) Prepare for the concert.
8.) Awkwardly force people to take paper from your hand.
9.) Realize you helped an amazing charity.
April 9, 2013 my LEAD team threw on a concert in the student lobby of the UC. My LEAD team’s focus is homelessness awareness. The concert brought out local performers such as Domino LAE and Hannah Beale. The goal of our concert was to raise awareness that Mount Pleasant doesn’t have a homeless shelter. Pastor Robert Griffus is on a mission to start a shelter in the community. Just this year he was able to turn his program “Open Arms Ministry into a nonprofit organization and find a site for his mission. Our concert also helped bring awareness to the community meeting for the following day.
If one thing was accomplished, it was that we informed students about what we want to do. We got the word out there and that’s just the start. I know that next year’s homelessness awareness LEAD team will be able to get an even bigger event going. The group now has the layout and connections we needed to grow.