Monday, April 6, 2009
A Life-Changing Experience by Titania Fisher....
I remember attending the new student orientation and hearing the words “Community Service?!” The words that came out of my mouth were, “Lord, Jesus. Why? What was the purpose of this?” I couldn’t understand why I had to commit to volunteering my services….
I’m a strong believer in everything happens for a reason. After trying to find a place to volunteer for a while, I called a shelter in Raleigh that was listed with the Academic Community Service Learning office. I spoke with a gentleman by the name of Dwight who stated he still needed help in the kitchen. “How hard could working in the kitchen be?” I thought to myself. Little did I know this would be a life changing experience for me….
I started my community service the next day. When I arrived at the shelter, the kitchen staff introduced themselves and didn’t waste anytime with putting me to work. My title for the day would be line server. Dwight showed me how much food to put on each tray, and after that it was show time. When the doors to the kitchen opened, I could see a long line of men waiting for dinner to be served. I studied each face that walked through the door. To me these were not faces of strangers. But in these men I could see my father, grandfather, brother, uncle, the guy sitting next to me in class, my pastor, and I could go on and on. These weren’t just men that suffered from mental illness, alcohol abuse, or drug attics. These were men that you may come in contact with every day that at one point had every thing going for them and at the snap of a finger lost it all.
I had the pleasure to talk with a gentleman who told me his story of how once he lost his job. It was like a domino effect and every thing went down hill form there. After sharing his story, he wanted to know what brought me to the shelter. I told him I was a student at NCCU, and I had to complete community service hours. He then offered me words of encouragement....He told me to make finishing school my first priority. He also encouraged me to stay focused, and if I should fall off track, to make sure I get back on.
At that moment I finally got it….The light came on. I realized how blessed I really am. As we go through our day-to-day lives, we forget others who are less fortunate. This day provided me the opportunity to reflect on the values that my parents and NCCU have instilled in me.