This past semester I had the opportunity to participate in a Service Corps Internship with URI Hillel. The internship focused on service, volunteering, and education. It came with a lot of resources for me to put on and participate in several volunteer programs around the University of Rhode Island community. I was able to educate myself and others at Hillel and in the URI community about health-related topics, and raise awareness for diseases and illnesses suffered by many throughout the world. My main focus was centered on raising funds for health-related charities and donating my time to work with those affected.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 16. My health has always been something I have struggled with, however, through the support of my family and friends and the resources around me I have been fortunate to conquer diabetes. Health has always been a priority of mine. My health and the health of my loved ones is something I have always taken into consideration when choosing charities and organizations to work with. Through the service internship that Hillel provided me, I was able to give back to those on the COVID-19 frontlines, work with those currently in hospital beds, and those like myself who deal with chronic diseases. For me, giving back to those within the diabetes community and educating those around me about the pandemic made me feel very good. Informing my community about relevant topics and ways we can help made me feel like I made an impact and a difference in others' lives.
The first volunteer opportunity that I organized with Hillel focused on gratitude
. I led a fifteen-minute discussion on gratitude with Hillel students over Zoom and I talked about what it means to show appreciation. I then incorporated letter writing to show appreciation for those working locally in Wakefield at COVID testing centers. I felt it was important for my classmates and me to show recognition for those who put in countless hours volunteering their time administering tests to patients for the last year. It made me feel even more thankful when I delivered the letters that we had written to the volunteers at the local testing center. The second volunteer opportunity was a Challah Bake to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Through the sale of Challah we baked at Hillel, we raised over 200 dollars to support diabetes research and education. The last volunteer opportunity was a Krispy Kreme Fundraiser that I led
with my fraternity. Through pre-order forms collected over two weeks, we were able to sell fifty dozen donuts raising $500 for the American Cancer Society to support cancer research and benefit patients. Several brothers of my fraternity and I volunteered four hours on a Saturday to deliver the boxes around campus and the town of Narragansett. Each box of donuts delivered also came with a message about what the American Cancer Society does and how we can help donate and help this cause.
The biggest thing that I learned from this internship opportunity was: the more we give, the happier we feel. Volunteering increases self-confidence and provides a natural sense of accomplishment. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals. I think my role as an intern and the ability to participate and lead these volunteer opportunities gave me a sense of pride and identity. Although volunteering and service during COVID this past semester did limit my interactions with others, it allowed me to practice and develop my social skills. I was able to stay connected with those around me remotely and safely. I felt a sense of gratification about the work I was doing for others when I saw the reactions from those it impacted. I urge everyone to give back to their communities and volunteer their time or money to help those in need, especially in these unprecedented times.