Changing the World for the Better

As Spring Break comes to an end, and reality slowly but surely regains our focus, I want to give a huge thanks to the Center for Service and Leadership and the Beyond Bama team for providing such great opportunities for UA students. Spending a week volunteering in Orlando was an eye-opening experience, and I can’t imagine a better way to have spent my Spring Break.

Volunteering at Give Kids the World and United Against Poverty helped further my understanding of the importance of community and humility. It’s all too easy to become so wrapped up in the woes of the life of a broke college student that we forget why we came to college in the first place—to help change the world for the better. Through this trip, students of all different majors and hometowns and backgrounds were able to work together to make the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses markedly brighter, even if only for a week. We were able to assist in providing affordable groceries to people and families who would otherwise have been struggling a great deal more. We got to know the beautiful children and wonderful people behind the names of terrible diseases and misunderstood statistics. We set aside our personal issues and did what we could to make the lives of others just a little bit easier. Thank you to both of these organizations for allowing us to help you serve.

In addition to the impact we had on those we helped, I think we also had significant impacts on one another. Before going on this trip, I wasn’t friends with any of the other people. By the end of the second day, it was like we’d all known each other forever. We laughed and argued and yelled and laughed some more, and had oddly deep conversations into the wee hours of the morning. There’s just something about cramped van rides, early wake-up times, and minimal hours of rest that forges inexplicable bonds. Thank you to everyone who went on this trip for making it rock.

Thank you to Joline Hartheimer for being a fabulous team leader. Thank you to Phillip and Nancy Burns for being the most amazing chaperones and temporary parents a group of college kids on Spring Break could ask for. Thank you to whomever is reading this for making this more than the babblings of a 19-year old girl.

If you want to learn more about either of the organizations we volunteered with, their links are as follows:

Give Kids the World-

United Against Poverty-

-Written by Donedra Falls, a freshman Secondary Education Mathematics major from Eutaw, AL