Volunteering Experience: Joshua Alexander
September 16, 2014
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The question was posed to me, “So, Joshua, what was your experience like volunteering this term?”
Very good question! As a recent recipient of the Student Leadership and Development Scholarship here at Harrington College, the recipients are required to fulfill certain amounts of time volunteering. Fortunately for me, volunteering is not a difficult activity as I am always doing something to help better myself and those around me, whether in my personal life or community…well, maybe not always, otherwise I would never get any of my work done, but often enough.
My volunteering experience started off with participating with my fellow rugby players, the Rockford Ravens, as they reached out at the Italian Festival in September. I have to say, most people see the sport of rugby as gruesome and violent (yes, it can be, if you don’t know how to play the sport), however, it is actually a lot safer than regular football believe it or not. Spending time with my teammates at the Festival was completely not what I expected it to be. Because of work and school, being an author, and various other endeavors it is extremely difficult for me to participate when my rugby team reaches out to the community. I am glad that I took the time to join in as a volunteer this time around. I was able to see a side of the team that you do not see on the field. Everyone was laughing, helping out taking turns manning the concession stand (we were a hit with our Italian dishes: no one actually cooked them we just sold what the real cooks prepared as they delivered supplies…I can cook by the way just, thought I’d throw that out there for the single ladies reading). The community really came through to the festival; there was a wonderful carnival and re-enactments from Italy long ago, lol. What I really liked was seeing so many retired rugby players coming and sharing a tale or two at the booth from all over that just happened to be in the area. Volunteering really opened my eyes to the sport seeing, that I am newbie, and really showed the fraternal connection that exists.
Another very interesting volunteering experience occurred when I joined in to help the cause for AIDS awareness with DIFFA (Design Industries Foundations Fighting AIDS). Being a future design professional in the area of interior design and communication design I was amazed to meet and greet with professionals in the field. My responsibilities, although not the best or most glamorous, was to ensure that all the media presentation was set out on all the standing tables, bars, and to make sure guests were not sitting on the displays. So, I guess you can sort of say that I was the acting secret service for the event. I was very happy to participate as I made some really nice connections with some of the vendors present, that and I was able to sample some pretty delicious sweets and food that I have never tasted while walking around playing sheriff. Some of the displays were truly inspiring and very creative. One setup had a disco ball made complete out of King Condoms (go figure), but I can see how that plays into the whole AIDS awareness theme (use protection if you’re going to be sexually active…my little PBS special for today). I was very surprised to see so many people out and enjoying a drink or two…at eleven in the morning, LOL (it was a Saturday after all). But overall, my experience was very rewarding on so many levels.
Now that I think about it, I would definitely love to volunteer at DIFFA again even outside of scholarship requirements. The atmosphere was great and there was so much to see and experience. I know that may sound a bit selfish and the whole point is to give back to the community or to something other than yourself. In this case though I see the experience provides a win double win. More people should do it, volunteer I mean.
I would like to encourage you, the reader, to take some time and volunteer. Yes, you may be busy with life and so many other things, and you probably do not have time (or at least think you don’t have time). However, I challenge you to try. If you already volunteer, GREAT, try doing something NEW, shake things up a bit. I am so glad I did. Normally I just volunteer my time by singing at church, which is easy to do, but I wanted to grow in my philanthropy.
Well, thanks for the read. Remember everyone has 24 hours in a day…use it wisely and try to share it with others.