I believe that being a part of a community means giving back to it. Volunteering has always been a part of my weekly schedule.
I have been a involved in Florida Alternative Breaks as a participant and as a site leader. I spent my spring break freshman year volunteering with the LGBT community in Charlotte, NC. Our group was able to help the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Charlotte establish an internship program and prepare for an art show. In addition to the daily work, I learned about the concerns and challenges of the LGBT community.
This Martin Luther King weekend, I site led the Water Ecosystems FAB trip to Tampa. We spend two days rounding up air potatoes, an invasive species that strangles native plant life. The last day, we helped out at the Florida Aquarium - and got seats on a wild dolphin tour in the Tampa Bay. Watching my participants work together and form friendships was incredibly rewarding.
I also volunteer with Libros de Familia, a project that pairs UF students as reading buddies with children of migrant workers. Once a week, my partner and I drive out to our student’s house and read stories. We aren’t trying to teach English - we’re just making reading fun and exciting.