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May 2012

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The Road to Service

45 people on a bus might seem odd
But when it’s helping others out everyone seems to bond
At first it was hard getting to know everyone on the bus
But it turned out in the end it wasn’t too much of a fuss

Our first service site was in Chicago, Illinois
We got donations for kids, and they were filled with joy
It was quite awkward standing by the corners of the street
But knowing it was for a good cause was pretty sweet

The next place we went to was the city of Indianapolis
We stayed at a YMCA where the showers were just marvelous
Picking up trash after St. Patrick’s Day and planting was a breeze
Cause when you’re working with group it’s as easy as a lock and key

At Charleston, West Virginia we helped out at a nursing home
We talked and played bingo with elderly people
And their happiness surely shown
They thanked us for coming to visit and said to us goodbye
On the bus we shared our experiences and were glad that we stopped by

Our next stop was Lexington, where we stayed at Boxerwood Gardens
We mulched, weeded, and put up tarps for all the wooden houses
It was a lot of hard work, but it we got pizza in the end
But when we got on the bus, we all felt totally dead

After a long bus ride, we arrived at Virginia Beach
The service we did there was very unique
Some of our group went to a pet shelter, while others raked up leaves
But everyone agreed in saying that we accomplished what we set out to achieve

The final destination was Washington D.C.
It had monuments, museums, and other sights to see
Here all of our STLF groups came and joined together
To make one big group effort to clean up a river

After all of the service we did and on the bus ride home
I reflected on how awesome this trip was from what I originally had known
Serving those in need and answering their prayers
Is one thing that I will treasure: Forever and Ever.

By: Derek Person, BUSN200 Student

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Lost in Service

Mahatma Gandhi once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.

I had the pleasure of being a bus core leader for a non-profit I have become close with called Students Today Leaders Forever, which in short, leads service tours over spring break and creates service projects in each city they visit.  I had many of these students (even ones who were on my bus) in my groups for BUSN200.  These students came to their first meeting with a similar expression of “what have I gotten myself into,” especially after I refused to give them any details about the trip.

While on the trip I really got to see the extent of what Mahatma Gandhi was talking about with the quote above.  People really do rediscover themselves on the trip; I even saw this transformation at the first site we served in Joliet, IL.  A woman, likely in her 40’s, came out the back of her house (where we were cleaning the area of illegally dumped materials and debris) literally in tears because of what we were doing for her.  She exclaimed her joy and thanks to us for what we were doing from behind her tear-streaked face, but she didn’t understand what made all these college kids from Minnesota come all the way down to help her community.  When I tried to explain I couldn’t really find the right words, so I simply said “it’s just what we do”.  I saw smiles all over the faces of the participants, all working as a team for a common purpose, all for a community that none of us had any ties to but none the less we could all see that our being there made a difference.  This was only a small extent of how people found themselves on the trip, yet still, they found that what they were doing made them feel good, even if they didn’t know why.  I knew exactly why they all had smiles on their faces!

What is essential for a quality BUSN200 service experience is an open mind, you have to be open to the idea of service and you must serve in an environment that gives you some kind of fulfillment.  Some of the best sites go undiscovered because the label of the site does not seem exciting or intriguing, so dig deep and find a non-profit whose cause you can really relate to.

To all the future BUSN200 students, come with an open mind and come excited about the experience.  I promise that if you come to class with these two things, BUSN200 won’t just be another class that you have to take—but it will be an amazing experience.  If you come with assumptions, the class will feel like a class and it will feel like work.  BUSN200 is really one of the only classes that you as a student have 100% control over what you learn.  Challenge yourself to take control of the experience and make it into something that you can gain from.  The amazing thing about service is the emotions it evokes and the lessons that can be learned.  You never know what you can discover, so don’t be afraid to discover yourself through service!

 

By: Taylor Matysik, BUSN200 Facilitator