I do not really know where to begin talking about my experiences this year on the Alternative Breaks Advisory Board. I took a leap of faith last year when I applied to be on the Alternative Breaks Board. I knew I was passionate about Alternative Breaks and wanted to take a larger leadership role on campus. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to be the Weekends Chair for the 2017/18 school year. Coming into the year, I did not realize how big of an impact each member of the board would be on my year and life.
Each person on board lives with such passion for social justice issues and is always trying to make a difference at CMU and communities around the country. I know each person is going to be so successful in their future endeavors.
This year wouldn’t have been so impactful if it wasn’t for the challenges I had to overcome. The position of Weekend Chair had me planning Weekend Alternative Breaks throughout Michigan in the Fall and Spring semesters. This included many calls and emails to service and housing partners, waiting till the last minute for paperwork to be sent back, and in the end having successful breaks during the year. I was not always the best at the position and had to overcome many challenges. This experience has really allowed me to grow and become an overall better person. I have become more confident, better at organizing, more open to others opinions, and gained many skills that will help me in my future.
This group has truly become another family away from home. I am already starting to miss everyone that will be graduating in just a few days after writing this. In good news, I am excited to say that I will be returning next year to be the Fundraising Chair. I am beyond ecstatic for the new challenges and opportunities this position will bring me next year. I have already started game-planning. I am also excited to learn from all of the new board members, even some familiar faces, that will soon share that same bond we had this year on board. I could probably talk about Alternative Breaks forever. I think it is safe to say that I love AB.
I am glad to have been involved with the Special Olympics College for two years now. It is truly a blessing that the Special Olympics Michigan Office is located in Mount Pleasant where i can be so involved with one of my passions. This year was not as smooth with my involvement as I would have liked. Unified sports is my favorite part about SO College, but this year majority of the sports took placing during my Monday night class. I was still able to attend the Winter Special Olympics through SO College and participate in flag football.
Overall this was a great year for Special Olympics at CMU. We were recently recognized as one of 6 Unified Champion Schools. We have also continued to run the campaign to get rid of the “R” word. We continue to increase the number of people on campus that are involved with Special Olympics. Also, I am excited to say that I will be the Unified Chair on E-board next year for SO College. This opportunity will allow me to expand my involvment with Special Olympics and Unified Sports. Although this year was more on the rough side, next year is looking to be filled with many chances to grow.
Everyone right after the Unified Volleyball Championship at McGuirk
I have done a lot of volunteering this year, but this specific opportunity always stands out as one of the most influential events. I was once again given the opportunity to volunteer at the Winter Special Olympics in Traverse City. This was my second year in a row participating. I was once again able to volunteer on the slopes at Schuss Mountain. I will never get tired of watching the athletes perform so well in all of their events. This is emphasized when I go down the hill on my skis and cannot come close to being as skilled and smooth as all of the athletes.
Although I believe the ski hills are the best event, nothing beats the Opening and Closing Ceremony. It is great having all the volunteers form a walk way that all of the athletes run through with pure joy as they are cheered on and given copious amounts of high fives. The Closing Ceremony is then followed by a huge dance party with the athletes, which despite the sweat, will never tire me out. The Winter Special Olympics is the most gratifying volunteer experience I have been able to participate in. I am already looking forward to next year and maybe even switching up my event.
Great friends and even better volunteering.
This year I was lucky enough to have participated in Leadership Launch as my LEAD Team. I am very involved with Special Olympics on campus, so I was blessed to be given another opportunity to get more involved with the community. This was a big year for Leadership Launch and Special Olympics. We really put an emphasis on having our own ideas implemented and to take a big step in development of the event. The event was a huge success as it was recognized by the higher ups in the Special Olympics Organization.
I was lucky enough to be able to hangout with an awesome group of students throughout the day. Participants included students and partners from high schools all around Michigan. We went around to different rooms participating in various leadership and critical thinking activities. I really feel that the students took a lot from the day and enjoyed their time. Personally, I was able to learn a lot from the students. They always had very thoughtful things to say in the activities and personal experiences. It was also great to run small group activities and reflection. You can never have too much practice in those skills. I am very excited to see the direction Leadership Launch takes in the future and I hope to be apart of it next year.
To this point of my college career, the experiences I have had with Special Olympics at CMU have meant the most to me. I would not trade them for the world. SO College is one of the RSOs I have been apart of at Central my Sophomore year. I started getting involved with similar activities in high school through Victory Day. At Victory Day, Varsity Football players each got assigned an individual with intelectual dissibilities to be our partner for the day. We got to run drills with them and let them run in a touchdown on the field. It was one of my best moments in high school and pushed me towards Special Olympics in college.
I have been able to do a lot with the SO College this year. One of my favorite parts is participating in Unified Sports. We basically go through every sport, competing on teams that combine CMU students and Special Olympic athletes. This year I was able to participate in Football, Basketball, and hopefully kickball at the end of the year. Being around these athletes is one of my passions in life. I love to interact with every single one of them. Competing with the athletes has brought about a lot of joy and lasting memories. My favorite memory was playing a basketball game on McGuirk arena and bringing home the W. By simply playing a sport, I have made connections that I may normally not have had or expected. It truly brings joy to my heart. Another fun experience was getting to volunteer at the opening of Texas Roadhouse where we were able to spread awareness for Special Olympics. There are so many great things I have been able to do this year through Special Olympics and I am excited to continue participating next year.
My Unified Basketball Team
I am blessed that a couple of my friends share the same passion as me for Special Olympics. Being able to do these things with your friends make it even better. I will always enjoy this type of experience, and I hope to continue being involved in some way or another throughout my life. I have had a great experience with Special Olympics at Central Michigan University this year.