LEAD TEAM Reflection

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A lead team is a committee that Leader Advancement Scholar recipients are placed on for the school year. My Lead Team was the Michigan Fall Special Olympics. I explained my experience at the Michigan Fall Special Olympics in a previously blog post that you can click here to read.

My Lead Team moved pretty fast paced since our event of the Michigan Fall Special Olympics was a weekend in September. So our team meetings were just pretty much informational meetings about what our position was at the Olympic Games. It all happened so face and was very exciting.

I am actually so happy that I got placed on the Special Olympics Lead Team because it created a passion for me that I never knew I had.IMG_7415 It opened my eyes to a lot. I got to meet so many amazing athletes and roles models that weekend that truly inspired me. At one point we got to play with young athletes and that’s where I found my inspiration to decide to follow a career path of working with children. I met a little girl named Abi (relationship also explained in previous blog) that changed my life. I just can’t describe my feelings of that day, I loved every second of it.

That weekend gave me the opportunity to find a passion I did not know of it. Now I am trying to start an RSO on campus that just volunteers with children at local Mount Pleasant School Districts. It has also made me realize that I want to work with children for the rest of my life. My major is Psychology with minors of Sign Language and Child Development. My experience at Michigan Fall Special Olympics just really developed me into the person I want to be. It inspired me to live every day happier. It taught me so much in just one little weekend. It taught me to embrace differences. It should be how important child are in our lives. The Special Olympics was just an amazing opportunity I will never forget.

And I didn’t stop there. I volunteered at Special Olympic basketball tournaments and also play unified kick ball. This summer I am planning to go to LA to volunteer at the Special Olympic World Games.

Special Olympics is just an experience you can’t understand unless you experience it yourself. I will never forget that weekend.

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Pre-Service Trip: LAS in the D

This Friday to Saturday LAS (Leader Advancement Scholars) will be taking a service trip to Detriot, MI. First on Friday we will be volunteering at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, where we will be facilitating leadership activities to teach the students of Jalen Rose Leadership Academy leader qualities, how to facilitate such activities, and just teach them about college in general. Then on Saturday we are spending our day volunteering for the Motor City Blight Busters. And then of course we will be stopping at locations in Detroit for food and entertainment, and also professional locations. We will be going to Pizza Papalis, Lowe Campbell Ewald, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts. It should be a fun filled weekend and I am looking forward to the adventure and seeing what Detroit has to offer!

What social issues in Detroit are you aware of? How have you learned about these issues?

I am not fully aware of the social issues in Detroit, Michigan. I am aware of the crime issues being presented in Detroit, and also that it has a poor economy. I have never really been well educated on the topics and conflicts in Detroit. The only times I have really heard anything about Detroit was in the news occasionaly if it was for a bad education system or how many murders they have had. I live in the Upper Peninsula, so I haven’t really been exposed to Detroit problems until I have came to CMU. My hometown football team of my senior year played in the Division 5 Football State Championships in 2013. A good proportion of our town (Menominee, MI) attended this football championships. The game was played in the Detriot lions stadium. As entered the hotel, we picked up a news paper that had a head line of No Murders in the Past 24 Hours. So that made it clear to us outsiders that Detroit has a violence and crime issue. Though I have never been educated on the upsides of Detroit.

In what ways does this service learning experience to Detroit relate to the purpose and vision of the Leadership Institute?

The Leadership Institute purpose and vision is stated as . . .

PURPOSE: Central Michigan University is committed to preparing Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society.

VISION: The Leadership Institute prepares the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work.

I feel like the Detroit service trip I will be partaking in is word for word of the Leadership Institute’s purpose and vision. We are volunteering at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a new high school to the city of Detroit. Our purpose is to increase leadership roles in Detroit! We want to make a chain reaction which is just an awesome idea. We are going to inspire the youth, and we are going to better others. And I believe that’s all what leadership is about. Then we are fulfilling the LI’s vision by trying to help the city of Detroit. We want to improve our home state as much as we can on this service trip. Even if it’s a small impact, it is still an impact we are creating.

How do you think the trip to Detroit will help you grow as an individual?

I am very unsure how this service trip will help me grow. I hope it really opens my eyes and see how something so little can make a change. I want to make an impact with individuals every day for the rest of my life, so I think this service trip will help me see a different perspective on how to help others. I am very unsure how this service trip will make me grow, but I am ready to see how it does. I will be very open minded during this trip, and I am really excited to see what it has to bring. My degree at CMU is psychology, but I am still undecided what field I want to focus on in psychology. A part of me wants to work with the youth, so I will get in insight on that as well when I attend this Detroit service trip.

I am ready to make a difference in the city of Detroit, Michigan. 🙂

Chris Kyle: Current Event Leader

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The story of Chris Kyle is amazing and inspiring to me. Though Chris Kyle isn’t a really a recent current event leader, I still thought of him when I was asked to select one leader from a current event at the state or national level.

When I was in sixth grade we watched this news broadcast everyday in class called channel one. Channel one was how I learned current events, especially events like the Iraq War. I did not really get a grasp on what was truly going on all the time, but it was hitting me at a more person level. When I was in sixth grade my Uncle Tom (or Uncle Z, as I like to call him) was on tour in the Iraq war. I did understand that he was fighting for our country and safety, but I never truly understood what was going on. As I got older I obviously got educated on the event. But when I saw the movie American Sniper on opening day it changed my whole perspective on the Iraq War.

I never knew the story of Chris Kyle, the most successful Sniper in America history. Chris Kyle was a Navy SEAL and served four tours in the Iraq war. He had 160 confirmed kills, and most likely 255 claimed kills, which is from the Chris Kyle website (http://www.chriskyleamericansniper.info). I don’t want to ruin the whole story for you if you have not seen the movie, or read his book, but I highly advise you to do so if you have not yet. I believe without Chris Kyle the Iraq war would of went completely different. He made a significant impact and is a true American Hero. A hero that will will never be forgotten for his dedication and patriotism.

Chris Kyle was so determined to keep his country, friends, and family safe at all times. Being a Sniper for the military is not necessarily an easy job, and not anyone can do it. It takes focus, drive, stability, and passion to complete and succeed at this job. Many say Chris Kyle wasn’t a hero, and that he set bad examples for our society. What those people don’t realize is he was risking his life to protect us, to protect all of us Americans. If you believe Chris is not a hero because of his actions you are wrong. He loved his family, and his country. He made so many sacrifices for our country, and we need to be proud of that. Chris’s behavior and actions sets an amazing example of a real leader. I believe that his story did portray why followers want to follow such a great leader. His whole crew always looked up to him and wanted to be just like him. He was known as the best, but he didn’t brag about it, he just used his skills to help. He embraced what he had, and fought for all he could. He protected so many, and so many followed his actions through out the war. He gave directions and his team always followed them. He had a natural talent for what he did, and that is always something you should look up to.

I just admire what he did for our country so much. His attitude as Navy SEAL was some what unbelievable. I was inspired by his story. He was tremendously brave and so loyal to our country. I believe that is something to admire. He was so passionate about his whole life, yet his life was a scary one. But that didn’t matter to him. His leadership affected me because it showed me you can fight hard and help others everyday of your life. My goal in life is to become a Clinical Psychologist so I can help people every day of my life too, and make myself useful on this earth. I will never have the bravery Chris Kyle had, but I can always strive to obtain that bravery. He taught me to do what you think is right, and even though it may be wrong to others you know deep down inside yourself that it is the right thing to do. And I believe if others watch this film, or read the book they would share the same feelings as me. Everyone in America just should be affected by this story in some way shape or form.

Chris Kyle is a leader that will never be forgotten. Chris Kyle made sacrifices for this country and died because of it, and he will never be gotten in this country. He will be remember forever, and I will always refer to him as one of my greatest heroes.

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RIP Chris Kyle

You are loved by America, Thank you everything you have done.

Michigan Fall Special Olympics

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I got an amazing opportunity to be apart of the Michigan Fall Special Olympics. I was apart of a committee that organized activities for project unify and the Special Olympics. The group from CMU got to run a leadership session for project unify, help young athletes participate in events, and help run the golf section of the Michigan Fall Special Olympics. Every opportunity was so amazing. Not only did I bond with athletes, I also bonded with other students at CMU. One girl named Jen and I became really close friends by the end of the weekend. IMG_7355You always need to cherish every opportunity or experience you are given because you can never expect the outcome that you will receive. I made many lasting friendships and memories that weekend. My favorite part of the weekend was the two hour period we got to play with the young athletes in an arrange of different activities. There’s where I met a little girl named Abi. There isn’t words for how perfect of a little girl Abi is. She is just so precious I could not be help but to fall in love with a such a cute little girl. After this wonderful experience I wrote a paper on Abi. She changed my life more than she will ever realize, but spending that time with her was honestly the best memory I have of my entire life. And I would like to share this experience that I always remember…

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I will never forget the sparkle in her eyes that reminded me of myself when I was a child. Her excitement and happiness was astonishing, but yet, sometimes still hidden by her shyness. I will always be able to replay the moment in my mind when she ran up and hugged me as tight as she possibly could. That instant I knew she accepted me into her life, and I felt the impact of change in my own life. On Friday, September 16th, I met a little girl named Abi, during the 2014 Special Olympic Fall Games of Michigan. There was a connection built between us in little over than an hour that would last for the rest of our lives. Abi made me change my attitude and outlook on life within a small period of time.
During the Michigan Special Olympic Fall Games we received about two hours to spend time and socialize with young special Olympic athletes. That’s where I met Abi. Abi is a really young girl, no older than five. She had two curly brown hair pig tails that brushed her face, and deep pretty brown eyes, just like my own. She was almost a mirrored image of myself when I was that age. I could not help but notice her curiosity and wisdom across the room. In this room there were set up sport stations for the young athletes to participate in. One of the first stations I helped Abi participate in was the golf station. At first she was a little hesitant with me helping her, but she soon learned I was there for pure encouragement and support. Little did she realize that I was actually learning more from her than she was form me.
Shortly after the golfing station, Abi and I got a chance to briefly talk. Even though she didn’t say much, I could still understand by reading her body language and facial expressions. At the time we were waiting to move to our next station, which was the soccer station. I asked her if she liked soccer, and she shook her head with excitement. She kept whispering, “Bubba.” Soon I found out, by talking to her mother, that Bubba is her brother who plays soccer. Abi likes to kick the ball around at home with him, and she soon showed me that she can kick the ball pretty far for how tiny she is. Then the next station we got to participate in was the bowling station. This is where she put a lot of trust in me and let me help her guide and push the bowling ball down the lane. After we got done bowling she jumped into my arms with eyes full of joy, and that’s when I felt the power of change come across me. With so little time, a young girl as herself, had so much confidence in me. In that embrace, we felt a connection that could never be broken.
Then Abi and I moved onto the football throwing station.IMG_7425 This is where I really saw Abi’s true colors. She would repetitively pick up the football with so much confidence and hit the target every time. She was a strong little girl inside and out. I would continue to give her a smile and a cheer with every accomplishment she kept making. Then once at that football station she hit the target, looked back up at me and gave me the biggest smile back. I felt a complete rush of acceptance fill my body. I was also pretty sure the feeling was mutual. Abi starting holding my hand as we would go from station to station. As we walked towards the flag football station she pulled back with hesitation and would not let go of my hand. The object of the station was to chase the runner and pull off the flags, but since I was not the runner she would be chasing she did not want to participate. The runner was a stranger that she wanted nothing to do with. Then I decided to put on the flag belt so she would still participate. She ran across that room chasing me with a full smile painted on her face. IMG_7426I never heard so much laughter come out of a little girl’s mouth. That was the last event we got to participate in, but it was the best one. I got to see her whole personality come out just in a few minutes of playing. She trusted me and only me. We had so much fun together. I felt like I was a little kid in spirit. I felt the mutual feeling of being ourselves, because we weren’t scared to be whoever we wanted to be around each other.
Then the last thing we got to do together was the awards ceremony. Abi led me in a crowd of other athletes to sit down with her for the awards ceremony. During it she used my pompom to cheer on other young athletes, which was a proud moment in my life. By watching me cheer her on throughout the day she learned to cheer others on to make them happy. Our positive attitudes were rubbing off on each other. Then it was finally her turn to receive her medal from competing that day. She stood up with so much pride and confidence, but at the same time really modest about it. I got to see Abi blossom, just like a flower does from a simple seed. She started off so shy and distant from me, but showed her true colors by the end.
Abi showed me more in life than just having a fun time. She showed me how to be true to yourself, and how to stay positive with whatever life throws at you. During that whole two hours our relationship became so strong, but during those two hours I did not notice Abi’s disability. To me she was just a normal little girl that became my little sister, not a girl with autism. She made me realize that you need to enjoy life at every moment and opportunity that you have. Simple things like cheering people on made the experience so much more beneficial for the both of us. I set the best example I could for Abi, but really she became my new role model in life. She taught me to look at life in a whole new perspective. Instead of worrying about failing or having obstacles placed in your way, just live your life. Be yourself in every way possible. Abi has so much will power she could accomplish anything she puts her mind to. In my eyes, Abi is a superhero that changed my life.

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Fred Factor Project

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In leadership class we received a book Fred Factor. The whole book was based off an idea of being a Fred, which was based off a mailman named Fred. Fred is an average guy who works for the postal service, but he goes out of his way to make this world a better place no matter the circumstances. Fred always goes the extra mile, and if a mailman can make a difference in the world, that means everyone in this world can make an impact no matter what you are doing. There are four principles of being a Fred: 1. Everyone makes a difference, 2. Everything is built on relationships, 3. You must continually create value for others, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny, and 4. You can reinvent yourself regularly. Then after we learned what being a Fred meant, we were challenged to spread the idea of being a Fred in some way or form. My Fred Factor group decided to do this project on a personal level. We decided to read the book ourselves, then pass it down to someone that is a Fred in our lives. My group felt strongly about #2. Relationships are important to build, and you can always continue to make a relationship stronger. So I choose to give my book to my father. My dad is someone very important in my life, and I view him as a Fred. He has always been a Fred in my life, and continues to be an inspiring human being. I am not just saying that because he is my dad. My dad continues to make sacrifices for others and does make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. And my dad actually relates to this book very well, he too is a mailman. Which I believe he does outstanding at his job. He never settles for less than perfect, and always lends a helping hand. When I read the book every sentence and example made me think of my dad. When I presented my Fred Factor project to my class I stated that my dad is my Fred and told a personal story behind it. I sent the book to my dad through mail with a letter stating what he means to me and that I challenge him to be a Fred.
My dad wrote back an email stating this:

                The Fred Factor really gave me lot to think about, while also inspiring me to challenge myself to do more.  When I began reading this book, it was obviously very relatable, since I am  also a mailman.  But it was also nice to consider ways this book could influence all working people, especially whose work is in customer service.  Really, I feel the most important point or aspect of this book is how success is built from relationships.   And I feel everything is built off that point.  So that’s my first thing I need to build on and grow in my daily work.  I have already done that on a smaller level.  I gave one of my customers, a jewelry store owner, and my personal cell number.  It was simply because of the importance of some of the packages she receives on a regular basis.  Wedding rings for example, and it gave her the chance to contact me personally if she was looking for such a package.   But she was so appreciative of this seemingly small gesture.   It makes me want to expand on this, with all my customers.  I won’t necessarily give my number out to the city.  But, trying to build a personal relationship with them whenever possible.   Doing the small things, knowing there schedules, there typical delivery patterns, and always looking for the opportunity to help.  That alone should hopefully be the beginning of a rewarding relationship of all parties involved. 

            I’m passing this book on to a fellow letter carrier who works in my office.  He is rural carrier, and somewhat new to the postal service.    But I believe he possess the same desire to improve customer service.  And I’m excited to see what he does with the lessons within this book.  I’m sure he will pass the book on to someone else in the office.  And maybe, in the future, we will have an office full of “Fred’s”. 

My dad and I even built a stronger relationship over this activity, and I can feel our relationship to continue to grow stronger. My dads and I relationship will always be a strong bond and I am truly thankful for that. My dad is my Fred.

My Mentor

I remember the day I found out Hannah McGoldrick announced to me that she is my mentor. A mentor is someone that takes you under their wing to mentor you through the new transitions in life, including being a freshmen at Central Michigan University. In my Leadership Advancement Scholar program, each sophomore of LAS picks a new incoming freshmen to be their mentee. I was lucky enough to instantly connect with my mentor.

My senior year in high school I was in my leadership class at the time. The classroom received a call over the inner-com telling me that I need to pick something up in the office. I left to go to the office right away. When I entered office I saw a bouquet of flowers with my name on it. When I opened the card it was a warm welcome into LAS, and introducing me to my mentor Hannah. I ran back to my classroom to tell my class the good news. That day we had our first conversation on facebook introducing ourselves. Hannah told me she picked me as a mentee because of all our common interests. We are both huge packer fans, which is hard to find at a university down state. (All those dang lions fans) Over the next few months before I came to CMU, Hannah and I stayed in touch. We easily got along and grew a strong bond instantly. I felt ready and comfortable to start my next chapter in life because of my mentor! It was nice going to college knowing I had someone there to help and support me!

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Then about two weeks into school the Leadership Advancement Scholars of the 2014 cohort and the 2013 cohort got to go on an LAS retreat for a weekend. The LAS retreat is designed to give you a weekend to bond with your mentor. The two cohorts of mentors and mentees got sent to a camp called Eagle Village, which is full of activities you get to experience with your mentor or mentee. As a mentee this whole experience was new to me. One of the main activities of the LAS retreat was the high ropes course. The high ropes course is an obstacle course high in the air. You got strapped onto the course by a harness for safety. I was pretty nervous to participate in the high ropes course but I tried to stay brave to not embarrass myself in front of my mentor. Then when we both got up to on the high ropes course we both became a little nervous. The first obstacle we faced on the course was the rock climbing wall, you had to climb horizontally across to reach the other plat form. Hannah and I both struggled with this obstacle but continued to laugh and encourage each other. It was such a nerve racking time, but it was an amazing experience I will never forget. Hannah and I cheered each other on during the whole course, and had a great time. It brought out the best in both of us, and I couldn’t of imagined experiencing it with anyone else.  Also at the end of the day Hannah and I decided to rock climb tied together. The whole way up the rock wall we laughed and laughed. Well actually the whole weekend we laughed and laughed. It was a weekend I will never forget. The LAS retreat at Eagle Village was a great opportunity to have time to get to know your mentor on a more personal level. To end the wonderful weekend we got to have a campfire where others spoke about their experience and what they are grateful for. I was grateful for all the friends I already made in my first two weeks of college, and I was even more grateful for that experience I had with my mentor Hannah. Also I’ll never forget our fist fitting perfectly together. Now that tells you how close we actually are. That fist bump shows how connected we are, and that our mentee-mentor was meant to be. 😉
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Now a semester into college Hannah and I are still really close. I could not ask for someone better in my life to guide me through all the obstacles I will face over the next few years. Hannah is someone I know I will stay close with and contact with years after we graduate college. Without my mentor I would of not been as confident coming to CMU. Hannah is not just a mentor to me, she is also a role model and a close friend. She is an inspiring person and I look up to her everyday. She a very important person in her community, on campus, and in my heart. How active she is on campus is crazy to me. I don’t how she does it, but I really look up to her in everything she does. She is a hard working young lady and has a very bright future. She is also just a loving and caring person. I know I always can count on her, and we still continue to have meaningful conversations that really mean a lot to me. She makes the world a better place. I am truly blessed to have Hannah in my life. She is the best mentor I could ask for.

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