I live in a small community. In my community, we take care of our own and support each other. Within my community, I go to a church called Millington Church of God. Within that church, both my mom and my sister carry out jobs that service both the young children and the teens in the church. This past semester had been particularly rough for me so I found myself at home a lot. This is when my service started.
I decided that if I was coming home I wanted to be serving alongside my family. I volunteered my time with the youth kids so I could help mentor them. I found that I really liked volunteering my time with the kids. They go through similar things that I went through and I feel as if I can help them. They also think I am really cool since I am in college so that helps me connect with them.
This helped me make more connections for when I am at home. I feel I am really making a difference in a community I grew up in that helped me become who I am. I have already committed to going on different youth retreats to chaperone and help them grow together. This is my new community and I love it very much. Not only do I get to work with kids, which I love doing, I also get to work alongside my mom and sister and grow with them in a different, adult way. I am connected and it is honestly a really good feeling.
By serving in this youth group I learned that I am never done being a mentor and I get to mentor an awesome group of kids. I have learned so much from being in my position and it has inspired me to become more involved with mentoring programs. Although I am not sure where I want to mentor, I know that it is in my future.
This is something I was able to discover while taking PHL118L with Professor Gary Fuller. This class took me beyond what I knew, on specified subjects, and made me think about all the factors to come to a decision and a final stance on what I felt was right or wrong.
I was required to take PHL118L for my Leadership Advancement Scholarship at Central Michigan University. I took this class with half of my cohort. In this class, we were able to have safe discussions about different moral problems. Some of these moral problems we discussed during class included abortion, euthanization, and legalization of drugs. For each topic, different groups were to prepare and present different factors for each side to choose if the problem was moral or not. We were never supposed to click a specific side of the argument while presenting. The floor was opened for questions after the presentation. By allowing people to have the freedom to express their opinion or ask questions to gain a personal understanding of the presentation.
This allowed the class to have a better understanding of other opinions that were different from their own. Although I already knew that people have different opinions, this class encouraged us to have these differences and discuss them. Some topics were more sensitive than others, but that helped create the understanding.
I am now able to take a firmer stand on what I believe in as a leader. I feel comfortable to discuss my beliefs with others and not feel I am making them, or myself, uncomfortable if our beliefs clash. I can also better learn and understand others different beliefs which is important as a leader. Gary Fuller also helped me to enjoy the class with his wisdom and quirky habits. He understood that we were “more creative than the honors students” so he felt he could have more fun with our class. Carrying on the tradition from each cohort was great because he knew how to teach a group of leaders well.
Philosophy 118L was a class that helped me to expand my mind and understanding. I feel I can now continue my journey as a leader with a better understanding and compassion. Creating my own personal philosophy allows me to help others create theirs.
On Friday, February 10th, myself and my cohort for Leadership Advancement Scholarship were given the opportunity to spend a mere 36 hours in the city of Detroit, MI. We were able to see the city as well as give time to volunteer in the city for non-profit organizations.
Starting on Friday we facilitated activities at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA).
JRLA is a charter school in metro-Detroit that was started in September 2011 and now serves over 400 students 9th-12th grades. This is a school that puts leadership in the center of everything they do, and that was very clear in how they ran things and how the students behaved while we were there. After leaving we were taken to the Quicken Loans building. Here we were given dinner and were able to listen to Buddy Henika who is very high up on the Quicken Loans pyramid, but in the middle of his presentation John Fikany took control of the presentation because of how passionate he is
about Quicken Loans and how he was ready to give us summer internships and it was honestly amazing to see that he believed in us enough to basically offering us a really nice step into the Quicken Loans company. We got to learn a lot about the company and how involved they are in the well being of Detroit and how they want to proved jobs to people. You could really tell they especially like CMU students, they were happy to have us there and we were all very happy to be there. After going to Quicken we were able to go to the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA).
I wasn’t really ever sure why exactly we were going there until a week after when I was told the history behind the DIA. I throughly enjoyed my time there. The art was amazing and the history now makes me appreciate my time spent there. Next we went to the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center where we spent the night and also got to learn about how it had basically risen from the ground and had nothing but is now something that people travel from out of state to come to.
The next morning we were off to CASS Community Social Services to serve. We were split into groups, my group being the kitchen. In the building where the kitchen there is also a shelter there, which is why they need a kitchen. In the shelter there are three different floors, the first floor is for mothers and children, the second is for veterans, many suffering from PTSD, and the third for men. The kitchen provides three meals a day everyday of the year and week and they serve at least a 1,000 meals a day. One of my tasks was to shred potatoes because they were going to be used to make hash browns for a special breakfast where the veterans in the shelter could come and special order a meal like they were at a diner. This is something that stuck with me the rest of the day. I have never truly been in Detroit and have only really ever seen the downtown area which is where all the work and re-building is being done. This was the in the outskirts and was in poverty. CASS is a non-profit that is focused on taking care of their people. Providing jobs, food, and shelter. This is so important to have in that area because of the poverty that has struck the people there.
So now, I would like to go back to JRLA and get to know more about it. I learned so much from this part of the trip that I will always have with me. I thought going there that we would be the ‘teachers’ but I learned more from them than I anticipated. Going to Quicken gave me a place where I want to definitely apply for a internship. I can see myself there and I fell in love Detroit from this trip. But CASS gave me the most from this trip. I am not sure if I would go and volunteer there but it makes me want to volunteer more and help those who are trying to help a community. I live near Flint and I understand what is going on there and I want to go and find volunteer opportunities there because I know Flint and I have seen the city deteriorate throughout the years and I know that the city needs some love and if I am able I should be giving it the love it needs.
Now I know I need to do in regards on how to better lead people. I need to be mindful of others comfort levels and to also make sure that I am not automatically trying to take over the situation. I also need to keep an open mind to new learning experiences. Everything is a learning experience that needs to be learned. But now that I have the humbleness in mind I really feel as if I need to volunteer more. I realize how much volunteers are actually needed. I need to volunteer more especially since I am so close to a community in need. Between JRLA and CASS I realize that I needed a reality check and to be thankful for what I have and the life I have and that I also need to share my fortune and bless others the way I have been blessed.
This Friday, February 10th, 2017 I will be going on a service trip in with my LAS cohort. I have heard so many good things about this trip and I am excited for what I will be gaining from this trip. I hope to gain a closer relationship with my cohort and to also have a humbling experience from what I will be seeing and doing in Detroit. I am aware of the poverty that has struck Detroit and the racism that is still present. I know of these things from what I’ve seen in the news and things I’ve heard and seen most of my life.
“Leadership Institute has worked to prepare the next generation of leaders who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live.”
This trip to Detroit is going to give us more of an understanding of something that most of us have never experienced and I believe that this trip will give us the knowledge we need to continue our leadership in our future wherever we all end up. We are going to carry what we learn on this trip with us for the rest of our lives. I cannot wait to see what I will be able to take away from this trip.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
I recently watched a TedTalk video featuring Simon Sinek. This video was titled “How great leaders inspire action”. In the beginning of the talk he introduced The Golden Circle which he referred to throughout the rest of the talk. The Golden Circle is a diagram that has three levels of thinking: what, how, and why. The “what” is “What do they do”, the “how” is how they do it, and the “why” is why they do it, To put this in perspective various companies were mentioned but more so The Apple Company. Apple is one of the very few companies that utilizes the “why” and tells consumers why they make what they make and the reason is because they believe in challenging the status quo. Another company could come up with an idea and be able to tell you what it does, and how they made it but if they don’t tell you why they made it, you are not going to be as inclined to buy the product. You don’t feel motivated to buy it.
“If you talk about what you believe you will attract people who believe what you believe”
Why is this important? It’s important to have people supporting you who have similar beliefs because if you do not then that task you are setting out to do will not succeed. Sinek brought up the Wright Brothers for this example. The Wright Brothers were famous for flying the first airplane after continually failing and then improving from that failure. Because they had people working for them who wanted to be there in helping them create their dream into a reality they were successful. One person most people have never heard of, including myself, was Samuel Pierpont Langely. Langely was also in the race to fly the first airplane. He hired the brightest of minds and worked hard. The difference between the Wrights and Langely is that the Wrights had a “why” and Langely did not. The Wrights had people helping them who were there to support them and their beliefs and dreams when the people working for Langely did not. The workers for Langley were there for the paycheck, that was their purpose.
“We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to.”
It is our job as leaders to have a “why” statement. If we don’t have one how do we really know that we are leading those with similar beliefs. People choose to follow us. It’s not “I have a plan”, it’s “I have a dream”. I know that after watching this TED talk that I want to be a leader that leads with a “why” rather than not having one at all. I know that I need to start thinking about why I am doing things and not do them because they need to be done. I need to have purpose and passion.
My Why Statement: “Inspire others to find their passion and love loudly”
When first given the topic of writing about a leader that I feel has inspired me and others not one person stood out among the rest until just now while I was scrolling through instagram. Throughout this past election and even before that this person, Tess Holliday, has been sharing her opinions and her beliefs about what she stands for. When I think of a leader I automatically think of someone who is able to do what she is doing and reaching people who think the same.
Tess Holliday is a plus size model and a body positive ambassador. I found Tess on instagram over a year ago when I myself was just starting to get to love my body. For me Tess was someone who I could look up to because of all the accomplishments she’s made. Tess was born in Mississippi on July 5, 1985. All throughout her life she has had to overcome many obstacles for example, being bullied. I think that it is amazing to see how far she’s come and what she has accomplished and it is something for young girls to be able to look up to as a role model.
Tess started modeling for a plus size clothing store called Torrid which is actually a company that I work for. I walked into work one day and saw her face on a poster we were hanging up in the window for everyone to see and I was awestruck. Tess Holliday is by no means what some people consider a leader but I do consider her a leader. I think that she’s someone that is paving a way for men and women of all sizes to be able to step up to the plate and promote self love and do it in a way that reaches everyone.
“Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, you” – Tess Holliday
Being a leader is being a voice for people who don’t have a voice. Tess is the voice for many people that it’s ok to love yourself and that other people cannot be your validation for being accepted into society. It’s ok to be weird, or quirky, or look different than everyone else. As long as you love you, people will accept you.
I want to be someone who encourages people to be themselves and to love themselves. I know what if feels like to not love yourself and it’s a scary and dark place. In the future and also now I want to be able to help people avoid that dark and scary place to see the light.
August 20th, 2016 – This was a crazy day. I had so many different emotions on my way to campus bright and early that Saturday morning. I was driving my sisters car alone while my parents were about 45 minutes behind me. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. Excited because I was moving to a campus I fell in love with the second I step foot on it and also because I was moving out of my house and going to start my adult life. I was also nervous because I was moving to a place that I didn’t know very well. I hadn’t made that many friends that I felt I could trust. At that point in my life I considered myself and ‘outgoing introvert’, but in all honesty, I was an introvert and was too scared to actually try and make friends. I remember that day I was holding back multiple panic attacks and was so completely overwhelmed that I knew if I talked to anyone I wouldn’t be able to hold back my emotions and I would make a complete fool of myself. The only person at this point I actually knew and felt cared to get to know me was my mentor, Garrett. I was not truly happy at this point in my life. I was still upset and petty over relationships that ended in the summer and what had led up to them ending in the prior school year. I was scared to let new people get close to me because I was scared to trust anyone after what I had gone through. It was hard to let people into a world where I was in a constant state of anxiety and felt like I had no control. I just wanted to get through the first two weeks and go home to see my family and my best friend.
October 20, 2016 – It has been a crazy two months. It feels like I haven’t been here for two months, A.K.A 8 WEEKS, it feels like I’ve been here for just a couple weeks. These weeks have been full of stress, full of tears from missing my best friend and missing my family and dogs. But I can honestly say that I haven’t had a panic attack in one month and it is the first month since March that I haven’t had one, and it feels awesome. I have made many friends, a few being my lifelong friends, and those acquaintances who will like the pictures of my children I put on Facebook in the future. I was always told that I would find those people in the first couple months of being here but I didn’t think I would. I thought that some of the friends I made in high school were lifelong friends, but life happens and it’s taken time to forgive, but I am moving on and enjoying life.
When I was in high school, I always thought that I wouldn’t be very outgoing in college because there are so many different people and I would get walked over but that is not the case. I now consider myself an extrovert and it’s the first time I have ever considered myself as outgoing. Recently I have been described as having a “loud personality”. That was new, but exciting.
I can’t say I haven’t missed being at home. And I can’t say I haven’t thought for a full day of dropping out and moving to California, but then was talked out of it by some good friends, so thank you. These past two months haven’t been perfect, but they have been amazing and I can’t wait to see where these next four years take me.
I feel blessed to know that the people who I have surrounded myself with are going to push me to be the best leader I can be and I know that they will help me succeed in my life.