Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Blog

 September 28, 2011

            My name is Haleigh Brown.  I am from Bolivar, Missouri.  I am currently a sophomore at Drury University, majoring in Elementary Education.  After I graduate from Drury, I would like to teach at a small school around the Springfield area.  I am actively involved at Drury University, and some of the organizations include Delta Delta Delta Sorority, Drury Ambassadors, Student Recruitment Team, Drury Student Teachers Association, Alpha Lamba Delta Honor Society, Gamma Sigma Alpha Honor Society, and I work as a campus tour guide.  I believe that these are all great organizations that will help improve my leadership skills.  This year, I am a member of the 2011-12 Summit Park Leadership Community.  The other members of my group are Mariah Fulbright, Erica Ramsey, and Katie Battalia.
I had heard about the Summit Park Community, knowing only that it was an extremely competitive housing option on campus.  Each group picks an organization to partner with and works throughout the school year volunteering for this organization.  Once I learned about the volunteer options Summit Park offers I knew that I wanted to be a part of the volunteer program.  In high school, I was involved in several volunteer projects, but I never worked with an organization on a yearlong project.  I was excited to apply to live in Summit Park, but even more excited after my group met with the Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator to find out about all the different services that we could do to help.  Some of the different services include working the food pantry, the after school program, office work/ setting up community events, bell ringing and gift drive during Christmas time, the thrift store, and simply spreading the word about the Salvation Army.  The way that our group is going to get the Drury Campus and other surrounding college campuses involved is by starting a clothing drive or food drive.  I chose to live in Summit Park, because I knew that it would be a great volunteer experience that I would never forget.  After the year is over, I will know that I have helped benefit the people involved or connected with the Salvation Army.  I hope to gain several memories from this experience.  I also want to be able to get many people around the campus involved and encourage people to volunteer.  Volunteering is an experience that makes a person feel extremely thankful for what he or she has.  I also hope to gain and increase my leadership skills while giving back to the community.
This week was our first week to begin volunteering.  Mariah, Erica, and I are volunteering Wednesdays at the food pantry.  Katie is volunteering Fridays assisting the with the Salvation Army’s PR and marketing to build awareness about the multiple opportunities they provide.  My first experience volunteering made me realize how important the food pantry is to people who are struggling with the hard economic times today.  My volunteering skills not only benefit the Springfield community, but also the people that work at the Salvation Army.  The woman that is in charge of the food pantry just recently lost her husband, and during the time she was off the food pantry became disorganized.  So when we volunteered, we helped organize the food pantry and stocked the shelves with more food for next Wednesday.  While helping at the food pantry, we stocked shelves, packed food sacks, and passed out the sacks to people in need.  I am excited to go back next Wednesday to volunteer!

Stay classy Drury University,


Hi!  My name is Erica Ramsey and I am a sophomore here at Drury.  I am currently a pre-med student and Biology major.  I plan on graduating Drury and continuing on to a medical school where I will specialize in pediatric oncology.  I am involved in several organizations here on campus including SUB, DVC, Ambassadors and ALD. 

I really wanted to live in the Summit Park Leadership Community because it was a great way to further develop my leadership skills while giving back to the community.  I was so excited to be able to pick the organization to work with for an entire year.  In the past, when I have volunteered I may spend a few hours with this organization and a few hours with another.  I think that it is going to be an extremely enriching experience to build a relationship with the Salvation Army.  We are going to be able to get to know the people that we are working with, as well as those that benefit from our volunteering.   While living in Summit, I am going to have to learn how to be a leader of the parts of the project that I am responsible for, and also work on being a team player.  I think that I will learn how to be organized, work on time management, and work with others.  I will learn how to work with people with different personalities, and learn how to apply what I learned in the “What’s Your Color?” experiment!  I have already learned so much by living here with my amazing roommates, and can’t wait for the rest of the year!     

 The organization that we adopted for the year is the Salvation Army.  Haleigh, Mariah, Katie, and I picked the Salvation Army because of all of the different projects and volunteer opportunity that the organization offers throughout the year.  We thought that this would be a great organization for us to be involved in that would allow the four of us to find a volunteer opportunity that catered to our individual majors.  We also heard that the Salvation Army is always in need of more volunteers outside of their Christmas season.  Some of the things that we are planning on helping with this year are the weekly food pantry, the after school kids program, and the Christmas season.  I am really excited to start volunteering with the Salvation Army and gaining great experiences and memories!

While on the subject of the Salvation Army, Mariah, Haleigh, and I volunteered there for the first time today!  We went and helped organize, stock, and pack bags of food for the food pantry.  We would pack the bags and then people would line up to get their monthly ration of food.  It was really rewarding, eye-opening, and we had a ton of fun.  We can’t wait to go back and do it again next week!

I can’t wait to see what October has in store for us! Until next time.

My name is Mariah Fulbright and I am a member of the Salvation Army Summit Park group. I am a sophomore at Drury University, and am working toward an Elementary Education major and a Psychology minor. I was extremely involved in high school with several clubs and I also participated in some volunteer opportunities. As a freshman at Drury, I wanted to make it a goal to be active in more volunteer work. I was successful at joining clubs, but at the end of my first year, I felt that I was lacking in volunteer experiences. When I began thinking about housing options for my sophomore year, I knew the only place I wanted to live was Summit Park. I knew that I would be willing to do anything in order to live in Summit Park.
I have been living in Summit Park for a little over a month, and I love it more and more every day. It is an extremely luxurious place to live and I feel even more on my own now that I am out of the dorms. However, Summit is not only great because of the living place, but it is also a wonderful learning experience as well. It is my first time living on my own, where I have to buy groceries, cook, and clean without my parents’ help. I feel that Summit has made me even more responsible. The amazing girls I live with and I have a good cleaning system that takes place every other Friday. We all take an area to clean and get it done in no time. I chose to live in Summit because I love a good challenge. It was definitely a challenge to be chosen to live here. My group knew we had to come up with a project that would grab the board’s attention. A lot of people I knew found out what all it took to live here and said forget it. Some did not even know the extent of it, but saw the application and decided to settle for a different housing plan. However, my group and I were determined to live in Summit. We worked hard to ensure that our project would win over the board and I would say that we definitely earned living here.
Summit Park has already changed my life and for the better. There is such an incredible intrinsic reward that comes with volunteering. In our project, thus far, I have only volunteered once, but after I left all I could think about was getting back to the Salvation Army to help more people. On Wednesday, I helped in the Food Pantry and it was a real eye-opening experience for me. I witnessed the various individuals or families that came through with a ticket in exchange for a sack of food. It made me sad to think that I ever thought my life was hard if I was going through a stressful time because, in all reality, I have it so good compared to those in desperate need of a few meals each week. It was hard for me to see the people come through with a huge smile on their face because they now have a few meals to get them through to the next Wednesday. I left feeling like I made a difference in a few people’s lives by just simply placing a paper bag in their arms. The experiences I hope to gain through Summit Park is leadership experience, getting along with people who obtain different personalities, and building more people skills with the employees at Salvation Army and the people we benefit there as well.
            Our project is right on track at this point in the year. I am looking forward to volunteering for the Salvation Army in any way they can use my roommates and I. We chose a great non-profit organization to work with. As of now, my group has met with our advisor (Dr. John Taylor) of Summit and also our volunteer coordinator (Audrey Esther). She is extremely excited about the plans that our Summit group has to help out with the Salvation Army. Every Wednesday, Haleigh, Erica, and I are going to go help with the Food Pantry. Every Friday, Katie is going to help Audrey with her work that she has dealing with Public Relations. The Salvation Army workers are thankful for us, and all of our ideas to help them out throughout the year. I am anxious for Christmas time because Audrey told us that they would need our help a lot around Christmas time. She said that there would be several things that need to be done. I can already tell that it is going to be a great year in Summit Park 1315.

Yours truly,
Mariah Fulbright

The minute I learned about the Summit Park Community at Drury I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I have volunteered ever since I was in middle school.  I particularly spent a great deal of time volunteering in high school.   Therefore, volunteering in college was a given for me.  Summit Park seemed like the perfect opportunity.  The fact that Summit gives students the opportunity to come up with their own projects was particularly appealing to me.  I could spend my time volunteering for a cause that I felt was worthwhile.  It didn’t take too long for our group to decide which organization we wanted to work with.  I feel the Salvation Army was a great choice for our group, and I was so excited to learn that we were chosen to be a part of Summit Park.
I truly believe my experiences that I will have through volunteering with Summit will be real eye-openers.  We will be working closely with those in the Springfield community who are struggling to meet their basic needs.  I live a life of luxury.  I live in a beautiful Summit house, I have a wonderful family, shoes on my feet, and I have plenty of food in my fridge.  Seeing the people that utilize the services of the Salvation Army will truly open my eyes to reality and make me realize how lucky I am.  I know I take many things for granted and I hope this experience makes me appreciate my wonderful life more often.  On a different note, I possibly want to work for a non-profit organization someday and by volunteering with a national non-profit, I feel I will gain many experiences that will be beneficial for my future.
So far we are right on track with our project and have run into no issues.  This week was our first week of volunteering!  All four of us are volunteering a few hours every week.  Mariah, Haleigh, and Erica are starting out helping with the food pantry on Wednesdays while I am working with our community advisor on Fridays to assist the Salvation Army with their PR and marketing in order to build awareness about all of the wonderful services they provide.  I am excited to begin volunteering and learning the ropes at the Salvation Army.

Katie Battalia