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Learning Center Experience
This month is about inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to seek out ways to get involved and find volunteer work that can help better their community. The Center for Public Service would like to pay special recognition to the College of Public Service Volunteer Hall of Fame. In early 2013, the College of Public Service created the Volunteer Hall of Fame in order to recognize College of Public Service students and faculty who have devoted the past, present and future to volunteering in their communities. See below as we take a look at three of the hall of fame members who are Making a Difference in their communities.
Where Do I Volunteer:
North Madison Volunteer Fire Department
My Duties as a Volunteer: I chose
to volunteer at this department in 2009 and have been there ever since. I began
my career in fire service at the age of 14 as a cadet firefighter and have been
a firefighter since the age of 18. Each and every day I am a volunteer
firefighter/EMT at the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company # 5 in Madison, Indiana. The thought of not knowing when the alarm
will go off means I am on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Being a volunteer firefighter takes a lot of
time and determination, and time away from our families. Training is very extensive, long, and tedious.
How I am Making a Difference: One thing that has set me aside
recently was at a public relations event when we were approached by a man who
is a local wrestler. He was trying to
raise money and donations for an 18-year-old girl who has a disease keeping her
wheelchair bound for her entire life.
She has been through more than 180 surgeries since she was a small
child. Later that evening a couple guys
from my fire station including myself went and met this girl and her
family. When I first saw her, she was in
a small red rider wagon. Later I asked
why she was in the wagon and her family stated they were unable to afford the
wheelchair she needed. We found out what
kind of wheelchair she needed and its price, and if there was anything special she
needed with the chair. The chair turned
out to be very expensive, costing over $2,000.
Working with the wrestler and our station, I was able to head up over $2,700
in donations between our fire station, the local wrestling organization, and
several other local donations from businesses around our community. Today this young lady has the wheelchair she
needs as well as a ramp to get in and out of her home. She is expected to go through 2 more
surgeries over the next month, and she will be escorted to the children’s
hospital in one of our command fire units.
Our next mission to grasp is to work towards getting a special van that
allows her to get in and out of with ease as she has to be lifted in and out of
Where Do I Volunteer: Stream Police and Fire Department and the DuPage
My Duties as a Volunteer: I am a CERT member for Carol Stream Police and Fire Department and a VIP member for DuPage Sheriff’s Department. As a CERT member, I assist to promote safety in local communities. This includes helping law enforcement and the fire department before, during, and after disasters by conducting triage, performing head-to-toe assessments, providing immediate care through life-saving and life-sustaining assistance, organizing medical treatment areas, and helping to manage disaster-related stress felt by all survivors. As a VIP member, I help law enforcement promote safety during local activities, such as the safety expo, fundraising and awareness, and much more. As a School of Criminal Justice graduate, being a part of a CERT and VIP member helped me to advance my career goal and promote safety in my family, among my friends, and my community.
How I am Making a Difference:
During the month of May, our local communities were affected by heavy rains and our CERT team helped with sand bags and delivered them in areas that needed the most. It was one of the most rewarding experiences. Our CERT team also helped the Police and Fire Department and Emergency Medical with their emergency training as victims during a disaster. It’s a great opportunity to understand not only the role of police, fire, and medical professionals during an emergency, but it also helped me to be aware and stay alert in all circumstances.
My Duties as a Volunteer: I have volunteered for the past 10 years with women returning to their community from the penal system, in detox, and with adolescents. My recent volunteer is the most rewarding at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center for girls. When I go to visit the young ladies at the detention center I carry a message of hope by presenting, having group sessions, and taking care of anything the staff asks of me. This is done once per week.
How I am Making a Difference: In 2001, I found Reconnection to Life Inc. Women’s Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where I partnered with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and Mental Health Association of Alabama. Reconnection to Life is a transitional housing program for women returning to their community.I am a nationally known speaker and author. Most recently, I published the acclaimed book MAMA AINT TEACH ME THAT. I am a member of the Speaker's Bureau of RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) and Counseling and Treating People of Color, and International Perspective. I am also a member of The National Alcoholism & Addiction Institute. I was the recipient of a Mental Health Association of Central Alabama award, Birmingham Resolution Award, Community Volunteer award from the city council of Birmingham, Woman of God with a Spiritual Destiny Award, and Youths of Today Leadership Program in Cleveland, Ohio.
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