My RSO Involvements

At Central Michigan University an RSO is a registered service organization. I was involved in two this year. The first being Progam Board(PB). I was a part of this organization last year and it is a great group. In PB we are in charge of planning different events around campus. These events could be either be bringing in a special speaker, having fun events, or concerts which are annual. I was a general member this year like I was last year. I got to volunteer for events and help the group succeed. Although I am not necessarily interested in planning events for my future, I think that this was a good way to gain experience and have fun.

I really love my Program Board people and I am happy to have been a part of a great organization. They bring really cool and interesting events to campus. Having an RSO like this on campus allows for the students to allow time to de-stress from everyday life and enjoy free events. I volunteered for a spring Pinterest party, a canvas and coffee, and movies that PB plays. I really enjoyed seeing how these events were put on, and the work that goes into all of it. I gained a lot of knowledge from PB and I can’t wait to come back next year!

Check out Program Board’s twitter with all of the pictures from the events this year at @CMUProgramBoard 

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My next involvement was the Mental Health Association. This was a new RSO for me and I went to it with one of my mentees, Natalie. I am excited to continue with this RSO in the fall and see where it can go. As an advocate for making mental health less stigmatized, I am very passionate about helping this RSO to create awareness. I don’t have much information about this organization, but I am excited to share next year all that I have learned from it. Fire up for Mental Health!

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Giving Back to My Community

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.

 

Social Problems 221

As a part of the protocol for the Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I took a class that was about Social Problems. We learned about different social issues that take place in the world, this could include gentrification, pollution, and the education system. We talked about broken systems that reside within the U.S. This was a class where we shared our opinion and discussed ways that we would try to fix these problems and why they could work or wouldn’t work.

There was much debate within this class. This debate brought light to issues that people within our class faced every day.  We were from all over Michigan, including rural, suburban, and city areas. We had a lot of diversity and people from different backgrounds which made our discussions very personal, but at times, heated.

In this class, I was able to become more knowledgeable about social problems. These problems happen all around us, sometimes without us realizing that they are happening. As a leader, I will be faced with these social problems. It is my job to be a person who makes changes to these problems and tries to end them. In this class, I was able to not only learn but understand people who go through these issues daily. I

 

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WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY?

What is your personal philosophy?

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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.

 

SPECIAL EVENTS LEAD TEAM {A LOOK INTO}

As part of the protocol for the Leadership Advancement Scholars at Central Michigan University, we are required to take place in small teams that all help the Leadership Institute to have events. Some of these teams include Diversity, Grad Ball, and Polar Plunge. In this past school year, 2017-2018, I had the chance to be a co-chair with my dear friend Olivia in the lead team called the Special Events Lead Team (SELT).

I was in SELT my freshman year of college and it was a great experience. I felt I was able to meet individuals in other cohorts and also become close to people in my cohort that were on the same team. When applications opened in the spring of 2017 I knew that I needed to apply and offer the LEAD team everything I had to offer it. I was very pleased to hear the news that both myself and Olivia had received the positions and we would be able to work together with a new team.

I would just like to say how awesome of a team we had this school year. Every meeting they came with fresh ideas with a great work ethic and we accomplished many great things. During our first meeting, we put together values that we could think back on while planning future events and we felt like we needed to remember why we were planning these events.

These Purpose, Goals, & Expectations were as followed:

  • Purpose: To plan, coordinate, and execute special/social events within the Leadership Institute.
  • Goals:
    • Relevant meetings
    • Gain/build skills (organization, event management)
    • Plan meaningful & engaging events
    • Connect LAS Cohorts and LI members
    • Improve marketing
    • HAVE FUN 🙂
    • Try new things

 

Our lead team was still a fairly new team and had no prior expectations to what we were supposed to be planning. We were told that those people involved in the Leadership Insitute enjoyed traditions so we set out to start to find and begin new traditions. Our first event was called Ballroom Bash.

Ballroom Bash was a great success. There had never been anything, to our knowledge, that was like this event. This was a free fall themed event. Having inclusivity of all

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PROMO FLYER MADE FOR THE EVENT

members of the Leadership Institute was at the forefront of why the event was being planned. Having fun games, including Kahoot!, a floor tic tac toe, and cornhole, crafts, and season appropriate food and drink we had the perfect set up for a well-themed event. I was very pleased that our team was able, and willing, to go above and beyond to help promote our event. This included being the people in group chats to continuously send the same graphic over and over to let people know that this very fun event was taking place.

 

 

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       This slideshow shows a few pictures from the night, huge thank you to those who were snapping pictures the entire night!

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Now moving on to our last and final event of the year: LEAD on Ice.

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This is an event that has held tradition for many years within the Leadership Institute. This type of event tends to be more laid back than other events since it is ice skating. There was not a lot for our team to do other than promo the event to everyone they know. Our team made their own promo video which you can see here. 

We had a great turn out and our team did a wonderful job promoting our event. I am so thankful for each and every on of them and all they did to make their event the best it could be.

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These are some pictures caught throughout the night.

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When planning events there it is a 50/50 chance that it will either turn out great or turn out way wrong. Our team was able to host two successful events. Both events carried the same values that we had set for ourselves at the beginning. I loved getting to know everyone on my team and seeing them get to know each other. We truly had an amazing team and I am happy I was able to be a part of it.

 

 

 

My Year as a Mentor

In just 18 days, April 20th,  myself and my mentees will be celebrating our first anniversary of the day I revealed who I was to them. I remember that I was ready to help these two girls I fell in love with before I knew them, to prosper at Central Michigan University. I not only was able to help them have a smooth transition from high school to college, but I got to become best friends with two of the most amazing people I have ever met.

I was able to receive two mentees, Natalie and Kate. I knew that having two mentees would be a challenge in many ways and did not know what I could possibly be getting myself into. With two people who are as different as Natalie and KateIMG_0154 are from each other, there was always the possibility of them just not liking each other and I would have to divide my time to them even more than I was planning on.
This was not the case whatsoever. I love seeing all of the different pictures they send me when they’re together and how they support and understand the other and her challenges. It warms my heart that I was a factor in their friendship and making connections when they came to CMU. I’m happy that they could both know someone before coming to CMU.

 

Although we were starting to make connections before the fall semester started, like at Natalie’s final choir concert and Kate’s open house, I feel as if we were able to really connect at the LAS mentor/mentee retreat in October. The retreat is an annual retreat to help grow connections between the mentor/mentee pairs and the freshman cohort. I did not have a great experience the year prior and I knew that I wanted to make my girls experience great so that they could grow from it and continue to make it great for their mentees. Natalie and Kate got together, on their own, and decided that our family needed to be extra and make capes to wear on the bus so that people would know that we were a family. IMG_0479This was one of many memories that I will always hold in my heart forever. I was so happy that they wanted to do this and let everyone know that they were “twins” and I was their mentor. For this retreat, I was the designated picture taker and I took many pictures to document this experience with my mentees so that I could look back and remember the moments we got to share together. We were able to support each other in different activities done at the retreat. I was able to help Natalie climb an outdoor rope course blindfolded. Kate and I were not as willing to do the rope course, both reasons because of awful fears of heights, but were right there to cheer Natalie on as long as she needed us. On the way home while Kate slept, Natalie and I were jamming out to some oldies on the bus ride back to campus. One of these songs included a duet of ‘A Whole New World’ from Disney’s ‘Aladdin’. This was one of my favorite memories.

 

Getting a front-row seat to all Natalie and Kate got to experience was a great feeling. I not only got to cheer them on but also some members of their cohort that I became attached to. I knew that becoming a mentor meant that I was a mentor to all, not just two people. I lived by this and my family grew and multiplied. I met these people through my mentees and I’m so happy I was able to. Not only did I help them when I was in Barnes Residence Hall, which was a lot, I also got to know and appreciate their different personalities and grow to love each and every one of them.

Being a mentor was a great experience. My college experience would not be the same without it. My hope is that the people I was able to mentor to are able to go and mentor others to share the knowledge they gained.

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LDR 200 Reflection

This was the second leadership class taken with my cohort as part of protocol and this class was basically like LDR 100 2.0. This class took a more in depth look into leadership and took more interest in the philosophical, theoretical, and the foundations of leadership. We learned about the different theories of leadership and how they came to be. In this class we found our “why” statements, which are basically the motivation why we do the things we do. We had to think about our passions and how we could turn them in to purpose.

Our first assignment was a more in depth look facilitating. We went through a presentation about the “do’s and don’ts” while being a facilitator. There was more things about facilitating that I knew there were. One thing that stood out to me was not to ask close-ended or “yes or no” question while debriefing the activity. This leads to little discussion when while debriefing we are supposed to have a conversation about why we have done the activity and things we can take from the activity. The class was split into groups and took turns facilitating activities over a few weeks. My group decided to make a “Web of Goals”. We gave everyone a notecard and pencil and had them write their goal on that card, no matter how big or small, and then we started with one person and gave them a ball of yarn and had them state their goal and then keep passing it around the group until everyone had gone. By the end of this activity we had a visual representation of everyone being on this web with some shared goals and some different goals. My groups main goals was to help create a visual that there are other people who share similar goals and that we are all trying to reach them. There were some of our classmates who were not even aware that other people wanted the same things that they wanted and now they knew who to go to when if they ever lost motivation and needed some encouragement.

The next part of the semester was based all around leadership philosophy. We were able to write a paper about what the philosophy behind leadership was to us. This paper personally put many things into perspective for me. This paper was a step into the group presentations we would be starting.

Our next assignment was to do workshops. Each group was given a chapter in our textbook and told to make a workshop from that chapter. We were to come up with an activity and give a presentation about this chapter to present to our cohort. My group was giving Path-Goal Theory. We started out by playing a game called Mafia and they group had to work together to come to the ultimate goal and find out who the “mafia” was. Then we started our presentation to explain why the game related to our presentation. I actually really enjoyed having this assignment. We were able to work on our personal presenting skills, getting experience from making the workshops, and hear our classmates present on other topics instead of having one professor do all of this. This was just more leadership training in a class but also gave us more knowledge and history on leadership. It was a hands on experience that most classes don’t have.

LAS in the “D” Reflection

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).

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At Jalen Rose

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

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Outside of Quicken Loans Building

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).

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Candid picture of Markus at the 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.

“YES!” to Leadership

Does a leader come from a “yes” or a “no”? 

I was recently asked this question from a professor in a leadership course. After reading the question and thinking about it for a while I have finally come up with an answer. Yes. A leader comes from a “yes”.

Leaders are not born, they are made. When a leader is chosen they have to say “yes”. Although saying “yes” to everything is very scary, it shows courage to be able to say that small three-letter word because that word means so much. It allows you to be open to new experiences and opportunities. But you have to remember that you wouldn’t be a leader ifyes-we-can you hadn’t said “yes” to that calling. If your followers come to you with an idea and were given “no” as an answer they are going to find another leader that tells them “yes” and you’ve lost your followers. You have to have faith and courage to be able to say “yes” and try to make your followers ideas a reality and when that idea becomes a reality for them they are going to be reminded of why you were chosen for the leader role.

Saying “no” is convenient. It’s much easier to say “no” to something you don’t like or don’t agree with, but where is that going to get you? The answer is no where. If you are just  waiting for an easy idea to come your way that you know can be a reality, why are you in the position of being a leader? Is it to just have the title, or are you in that position to lead? Saying “no” will close you off from doing what seems like the impossible even though it could be possible.

I understand now that in the future I cannot be afraid to say yes. I need to take the step into the unknown to find something that is truly remarkable. Saying no to opportunities in the past has definitely been easy, but being a leader is not easy, it’s supposed to be tough. I want to be a leader that says yes.

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
― Richard Branson

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