Hermanos Para Unidad (Brothers For Unity) 2018-2019

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This year I continued my involvement with the Hermanos Para Unidad (HPU) student organization as the executive treasurer. HPU accomplished many great things this year from putting on educational programs to trying out new restaurants in the Mount Pleasant area. Some of our greatest accomplishments from this year are participating in Siblings Weekend, the International Culture Expo, and collaborating with different organizations like Men about Change, Empowered Latino Union, and the Student Union for Racial Solidarity. The members of HPU worked hard to educate themselves and others and to bring quality programs that have important messages for the student body. The members of HPU also volunteered together throughout the year to give back to the Mount Pleasant community and to raise awareness for diversity and inclusion. Being a founding member of HPU, I am very happy to see how far we have come as an organization and to know that it is an organization that develops leaders. This is an organization I want to be involved with until I graduate, as I believe that it is a catalyst for greatness. Being involved with HPU is one of my greatest accomplishments at CMU and has enabled me to grow in ways I didn’t think I could.

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Latino Family Services

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This year I had the opportunity to volunteer with Latino Family Services, a non-profit organization in southwest Detroit that offers a variety of services such as after school youth programs, food distribution, substance abuse intervention programs, and other social work related services. Most of my time was dedicated to the after school program where the organization needed the most volunteers; I spent a lot of time restructuring their website and online presence. I also spent some time tutoring and mentoring some of the youth enrolled int he after school program.

Volunteering with this organization allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what nonprofit organizations do, as well as filled me with a sense of purpose. Volunteering in the community in which I was raised was so fulfilling and affirmed my desire to give back as much as I can to the communities that I belong too. Not only is volunteering fulfilling, but it is also extremely fun and serves as professional and personal development opportunities. I believe that for college students volunteering is crucial as it provides experiences that open the mind and encourage a deeper understanding of the world.

Serving As A Mentor

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Serving as a mentor has taught me many valueable life lessons. The first lesson is that if you agree to take on the role of a mentor, you should always be prepared to listen. This is a crucial part of the mentoring process, as you cannot assist anyone in personal growth if you are not receptive to them.

The second lesson I learned is that you must also be willing to talk. As someone who is supposed to have experience and wisdom, you should be sharing those things with your mentee so that they are better equipped to handle the obstacles that you yourself found challenging. It can be difficult to communicate, as you will not always have the same attitude or values as someone you mentor, however, being able to communicate and still enable your mentee to grow is what makes a true mentor.

The final lesson I learned is that it is crucial to establish expectations. Without expectations, a mentor cannot hold their mentee accountable, and vise versa. It is impossible to meet unspoken expectations as well, so making them known through a detailed discussion is essential if you wish to be an effective positive figure.

 

Robinson & Barnes Hall Council

Every week I dedicate an 1-2 hours to the R&B (Robinson & Barnes) Hall Council. This is a time where the community comes together and discusses whats going on in, around, and away from the community. It also serves as an outlet for those seeking leadership opportunities, as there are many ways that students can get involved with hall council.

This year I assisted in grilled cheese fundraisers, the annual DREAM Conference, Relay for Life, Hall Olympics, Larzelere and R&B Trivia Night, and much, much more. These events are part of what makes Hall Council so fun and grounding for many of the community members. Hall Council allows for students to feel at home, as well as outside of there comfort zone if they so wish. That is part of the beauty of hall council, it is loving, accepting, and inclusive of all. It is the main factor behind the constant 5 star status of R&B.

Getting involved with Hall Council my freshman year gave me the tools I needed in order to pursue higher leadership roles, and I attribute much of my growth to the Hall Council Advisor, Hannah Bleech. I continue to participate in Hall Council in hopes of inspiring others to set goals of themselves and find the tools necessary for accomplishing them, much like Hannah Bleech has done for me.

 

 

 

Hermanos Para Unidad (Brothers For Unity)

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Hermanos Para Unidad is a new Registered Student Organization on campus that was created in order to promote Latino culture at Central Michigan University, as well as standards of morality, ethics, and education.

I have the honor of serving as the Executive Events Chairperson, along with nine other dedicated brothers. So far this year, we have organized and successfully executed a Salsa and Bachata class where we thought anyone willing to show up ancient dances that have been practiced for generations in Latin America. We also orchestrated a campus clean up on Earth Day in which we cleaned parking lots and the Rose Pond which is not maintained by CMU.

Our goal moving forward is to continue to contribute to the success and well being of our community as well as upholding our mission statement stated above.

Lead Team Reflection

If you refer back to my previous post: Diversity, Inclusion & Service Lead Team Reflection you can learn all about how I was I was a part of the DIS Lead Team my freshman year, and how I applied to become a co-chair person in hopes of providing other LAS Scholars with a better experience than I had with his team.

After reflecting on my year of co-chairing this lead team, I can say that we both met this goal, and fell short of others.

The biggest obstacle us co-chairs faced was time, as we underestimated the amount of effort and meeting time needed to execute the goals we had in mind. We were able to have great discussions about cultural differences, educate each other on current events around the world and in our own country, and attend multiple cultural events going on around campus; all of which was far more than what was accomplished last year. Still, we were not able to plan anything with the MASS office or organize any service trips or events for our lead team. We ran out of time to launch any fundraising projects or expand the DIS team throughout the Leadership Institute.

Something that I took away from this experience is that you must be passionate about what it is that you are doing, and understand why you are doing it. If these factors are not present, those goals can sometimes be impossible to reach. I found that this was an issue within this Lead Team, and not everyone had the same drive or desire to learn about/create change around them.

Going forward, I will not be co-charing DIS Lead Team again due to other time commitments. Hoverer, I value this experience immensely, and learned that Passion and drive can be the most powerful tools of all.

Youth Advocacy AWB

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This past winter break I was give the opportunity to travel to Charleston, South Carolina with a group of 11 other CMU students on my third Alternative Break (more blogs to come). The social justice issue my group focused on was youth advocacy, and we spent a week volunteering with the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC).

Starting off, I was not prepared for the impact that this break would have on me mentally, nor did I expect it to strengthen what I already thought to be a strong desire to work with children in the foster care system. I thought I was fairly knowledgable about youth advocacy and the issues surrounding the topic, however, this break gave me the opportunity to truly immerse myself in the lives of foster children and allow me to see just how severe the scale of the issue is.

We spent everyday at the CYDC, a campus that consists of: houses for the foster children, recreational and educational facilities, and a main office building. This center serves as a model community for other foster homes, as they provide numerous and essential services to their children that most foster facilities do not. They teach the children there how to work on cars, computer programming, musical instruments, and healthy lifestyle habits so that they can develop necessary skills to assist in getting them ahead in life. However, this does not make the CYDC perfect, as funds are limited and the impossible feat of giving each child the love and attention they deserve.

The first three days at the CYDC were spent sorting presents for the children that were donated from sponsor families. These presents were things that the children were in need of, and would be given at their annual christmas party. In addition to this, we also performed demolition on one of the campus houses that was being remodeled into a transition home for children that would age out of the system. This would serve as a foothold into the real world, and allow the new young adults to find their place in society before just being thrown into the streets to fend for themselves.

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The last two days were spent in direct interactions with the children of the CYDC. These two days provided me with the most fulfilling, yet heartbreaking experience I have ever had. I connected with one child in particular, and learned about their journey leading up to the CYDC. As their story unfolded, it took everything in me not to fall apart. I realized that even with everything the CYDC does for these children, it is still not enough for them to grow into healthy, thriving individuals. It was after this moment that my goal of becoming an agent of social change in the world of foster care was transformed into a burning desire.

After our 52 hours of community service at the CYDC, we returned to our own community to share what we learned, and become active citizens in trying to bring about change for children in need. I have taken what I have learned from this experience and applied them to my social work classes. I will continue to apply this knowledge as well as educating myself so that one day I can shape the policies that will result in much needed change in the foster care world.

Communication In Leadership

Another requirement for the Leader Advancement Scholar and Leadership minor is to take the COM 461L Communication in Leadership class. This class focused on different theories and concepts that leaders follow and practice in order to become more effective at communicating with their followers. The instructor for this specific class was Professor Elizabeth Carlson, and her methods for articulating information allowed me to truly grasp the teachings of communication in leadership. Thanks to her, I am much more aware of my own leadership style and the several communication approaches that can be applied in leadership.

This teachings of this course are crucial for well-rounded leaders to acquire, as communication is our strongest tool in influencing and leading others. It makes us aware of what we are communicating, how exactly we are being perceived, and ultimately who it is being communicated to and how that effects our ability to be a leader. I am extremely grateful for being given the opportunity to take this class; I feel as though my leadership style was given the tools necessary to flourish even more, and enable me to become even more of a positive impact in the lives of my followers.

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Philosophy: Moral Problems

PHL 118 is a class that sophomore LAS students are required to take as part of the protocol. I had never taken a philosophy class at CMU before so I didn’t know what to expect. This class was taught by Gary Fuller at 8:00AM twice a week. The focus of the class was moral problems. We discussed different types of moral problems, such as abortion and gay marriage, and were basically given the tools needed to develop stances on the topics talked about. This class really helped me learn more about problems that face our country and allowed me to see just how many different opinions there were on these issues within my LAS cohort. Ultimately, this class taught me that as a leader, it is important to develop opinions on these issues so we are able to stand up and use our voices to make change. Moving forward, I will be applying what I learned in this class to the development of my own stances on various moral problems so I can effectively stand up for what I believe in.

Diversity, Inclusion & Service Lead Team Reflection

The DIS Lead Team was created to teach the meaning of diversity to the leadership advancement scholars, as well as to promote cultural events and educate others on the topic of diversity around the campus. The DIS Lead Team had a goal of fostering a change in the community that would leave a lasting impact. As a general member, I did whatever I could to help the team develop and grow. Despite not reaching any of our goals, we did pave the way for next year to be successful. With myself and two other LAS scholars chairing the LEAD Team next year, we have organized a plan that will bring structure and motivation to the new and improved DIS Lead Team. This plan consists of motivating our group members, hosting meetings that are worth while and educational, organizing events that people can take away valuable and mind-opening information, and participating in other cultural events around the campus. With the same goals as before, we plan to effectively teach and promote diversity to first our LAS peers, then to the campus as a whole. With a new and improved Lead Team, there is hope that we shall leave a lasting impact in the name of diversity at Central Michigan University.