Friday, May 6, 2011

One Last Time

Hey guys!! Jessica here...

Loved hearing about all of the group's success over the year :) It's been fun!
I think that this whole experience has been very enriching for us as a whole and I think that we will take a lot away from it, I know I will.  I have learned a lot of things, from leadership skills in class to what its like working at a daycare.  I have really loved living in these houses.  They're very nice (especially with free laundry and dishwasher lol).  I think that the best part has been how great of a little community it has been.  I feel, at least I hope, that they have enjoyed our help and support.  I think that we have really helped them and the kids enjoyed us being there.
If we had not had the chance to live here, we would probably be in Sunderland... so needless to say this is way better.  I feel like we have gotten a chance to "grow up" a little living in apartments rather than dorms.  I think that this experience has been great and I personally wish we would have chosen like the humane society or something fun with animals (I would have liked that).  But I really enjoyed working with the kids at lighthouse.  For future people, I would say just pick somewhere that you will enjoy working with and have fun doing.  Just enjoy the experience!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Peak of the Summit

Hey guys!! One and a half weeks to go!!!! Maybe less for some of you, in which case makes me extremely jealous. I cannot believe how fast this year went. Doesn't it feel like just yesterday that we were doing Tai Chi and Yoga? It seems like we have done so much stuff this year! I'm so glad I got to have this experience in Summit. It was a lot of hard work sometimes, but everything was so worth it. Getting to live in the most amazing apartment, that I am going to miss a lot, getting to see the kids at Lighthouse, doing the fun Summit socials, and having fun with everyone in class. Also, making fun of Andrew's obsession with Express clothing...oh wait. I can do that whenever!! Yes! I am really going to miss it. Being in Summit made me do things that I probably wouldn't have done if I had lived anywhere else, such as volunteer work, but it has made me so much more of a better person.
After living in Summit it will be a hard transition to no more washer, dryer, and dishwasher! But getting to know all of the people involved in the whole thing will help me find more things in common with people. I've loved blogging so much I might even start my own! And it's helped introduce me to new things, such as Yoga, which I'm going to take up this summer. It has also helped me to find out more about who I am. Living with the girls has shown me a lot about what I want and how I want to live. They were amazing to live with and I'm so glad I got to share this with them. I'm going to miss Tiff and Jess next year. Molly and I are sticking with it, however. I have learned more about making an impact in the community through Summit. Working at Lighthouse and with children was really scary to me, but now that I've been there to help, I have more confidence being around kids which will really help me if I want to have some of my own someday.
 I really loved everything that Summit taught me too. The goals are really going to help me with my future. I am already heading towards them more than I was when we made them and it's only been 3 weeks! Since I really have no clue what to do with my life, setting those goals really helped me organize what I wanted and put my mind towards something other than just finishing school. I think that is what I'm going to take the most out of in Summit.
Throughout the community I think we made a really nice impact with Summit. I could tell that we helped them out immensely just by the way they looked when we got there. Whether it was sweeping, cleaning resource rooms, or just playing with kids, they breathed a sigh of relief when we showed up. I don't know if we made an impact on the entire community that way, but we sure helped make people's days a little bit easier for them, and to me, that is just as satisfying.
If I had not lived in Summit, we would probably be living in Sunderland. I feel like living in another dorm would make me feel like a Freshman again. I wouldn't have been involved at all on Campus and I know for a fact that I wouldn't have done any volunteer work. Living in Summit gave me another way to get involved at school without it being swimming related and I think that really helped me.
Looking back over the past year I don't really have much that I would change. Every experience seemed like a positive one for me. I wish Lighthouse would have been a bit easier to work with sometimes, but other than that everything went really smoothly.
What other Summit groups have to remember is that sometimes it can seem like a lot of work, and since the class is once a month you usually forget to do it until the Thursday before, when you go, we have class on Friday?!!! After you do the assignments however they are really eye opening and they really help you out with your life. It's Leadership so it is going to help you for the rest of your life. It's not that math problem you learned last year that you will never use again. So go into the projects willingly and you'll find out just how rewarding they can be. Good luck to you all, future Summiteers!
I have really enjoyed being a part of this. Hopefully it's not totally over yet. Thank you so much Andrew and to all of my neighbors. I love you!
Deanna Sorenson

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Summit Conclusion

Hey everyone! I cannot believe that we have one and a half weeks left! Honestly, I am sad to be moving out of Summit so soon. If I could describe my experience in one sentence, I would say "This year in Summit park has shown me how blessed I really am". The Summit Park project forced me to go out into the community. While volunteering I realized how lucky I am to have what I do. There are people in the world struggling to find enough food to eat, while I, a college student, live here in an apartment most people in the world would only dream about. I know this may sound extreme, and I am not trying to talk up the Summit apartments. But looking out into a world other than the one I have been fortunate enough to live in, has made me truly grasp exactly how fortunate I am. It has made me honestly want to volunteer. Until recently I have understood how important volunteering is, but considered myself too busy with my life to contribute. Again, I know it sounds extreme, but I have discovered that I really want to spend my life   helping others. People can be very powerful in that way. As I continue my Drury experience, I beleive this lesson will continue to benefit me. Knowing how fortunate I am will continue to make me strive to always make the best of my situation. A saying I have come to love says, "There is always something to be thankful for".

The impact I have made on the community has honestly not been anything big. Through my volunteering, however, I was able to comfort and listen to some children in need of attention and love. Being available to provide a supportive atmosphere for the children at Lighthouse, is something I am sure they benefited from.

If I hadn't lived in Summit I would not have had to experiences that taught me how rewarding it was to volunteer. This project forced me to go into the community, something I don't think I would have made time for otherwise. Looking back at this year, knowing what I do now, I may have tried to find a different organization to volunteer with. The children at Lighthouse are treated well, and I sometimes felt that even though the kids appreciated me there, my time could have been spent making a greater impact.

The advice I would give to future Summit groups is not to treat the volunteering as a task that must be completed. It is very rewarding and can be something enjoyable and relaxing to do. Being as blessed as we are, we should use what we have to help others as much as we can. The Summit park is the perfect place to do this, if you let it be.

Thank you for a wonderful year! I have really felt privileged to have had this experience.

Experiencing Summit

     Hey everybody!  School is almost coming to a close!  I don't  know about you, but I am so very ready for summer.  End of the year papers and preparations for finals are stressful, but it will soon be over.  Looking back on this year in Summit as a whole, I have a feeling of accomplishment.  If I were to describe my Summit experience in one sentence, I would say that, "Summit is a program that demands a lot of responsibility at times, yet it fosters leadership development, problem solving, and teamwork among Summit members."  As I continue on at Drury, I think one main thing Summit has taught me is how to better work in a group.  I learned the importance of communication among members and the importance of compromise when planning events and activities.  I learned the importance of taking responsibility for your share of the work, but also the importance of doing whatever is in your power to ensure the project's success.  The volunteer aspect of Summit will definitely further my experience at Drury, because it has made me more aware of the Springfield community and has emphasized the importance of contributing to your society.  
      The most important thing I have learned from Summit Park is that there is a certain aspect of responsibility that comes from being a member of society.  As a blessed person, I have a duty to share a portion of my time and talents with others to help to better the community as a whole.  I feel like Summit has shown me the importance of what even a small amount of volunteering can do and that people do appreciate your personal efforts to make your community a better place.  I think the main impact we have made on the Springfield community and Lighthouse in particular is promoting opportunity.  By hosting the Fall Festival, the Christmas Symphony Concert, and the Easter Egg Hunt, we have helped to provide additional opportunities for fun, happiness, and bonding for the children and families of Lighthouse.  Without the Beacon Project's interaction with Lighthouse, the children might not have been able to experience these things.  I feel like we did an important thing by offering these experiences for them.
     If I had not been accepted into the Summit community, I think my year would have gone a lot differently.  For one, I would have had to pay for laundry and wash my dishes by hand. Haha I also would not have gotten to experience the different aspects of personal wellness during the first semester and would not even know what Tai Chi is.  I also would have been more secluded from and less aware of what is going on in the Springfield community.  Additionally, I would not feel as comfortable taking leadership or planning roles as I do now.  If I could change something about my Summit experience, I would have better communicated with everyone involved.  This includes with Lighthouse and with the other members of the Beacon Project.  I feel like some tensions and misunderstandings could have been avoided if we had better communicated about issues and been more proactive in facilitating communication.
     To future Summit groups, I would say to make the most out of their experience.  While it sometimes seems like a lot of work, it is definitely worth it.  Just remember to have a positive attitude about the work you are doing, even if it doesn't always go according to planned.  Take your share of the responsibility in your group, and make sure you have open communication with everyone involved in your project.
     See you all at the FINAL Summit meeting of the year!  I can't wait to hear about everyone's projects and to tell you about ours.  Good luck on your finals!

     Molly Brown

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back to Summit!

    Hey guys! I am back from my wonderful experience in South Africa! Spending two weeks with my mom and seeing family and friends was absolutely amazing. I swam in the National championships which went well, but I am back to Summit.
    Volunteering has been going well. I am stationed in the infant room, which has been an interesting experience. When I first started only two of the babies could walk or crawl. Now, a few months later, all of them can either crawl or walk. It has gone from a calm room, to a room full of crazy boys getting into everything. We sing and dance with them, read to them, and even paint with them. Those little boys have so much energy it is hard to keep up!
    Our project this semester was an easter egg hunt that actually took place today. It ended up going really really well. We had more than enough eggs for the kids, which was great because they don't often get treats like the one they got today. We began our project by gather our supplies with turned out to be more of a challenge than we first expected. Many of the parents of the children at Lighthouse don't want their kids eating sweets. Because of this we had to find treat like things that weren't actually unhealthy. We ended up filling the eggs with stickers, miniature boxes of raisins, and organic fruit snacks. By doing this we were able to make the kids and the parents happy. After stuffing the 250 or more eggs, we had to hide them all. We separated the kids into two groups. For the older group we actually hid the eggs. For the little ones, however, we laid the eggs in various spots on the grass.  Once all of the eggs were hidden we brought the kids out side to the play ground and let them loose! It was a lot of fun to see them running around finding as many eggs as they were allowed. The little ones were a bit confused at first but once they caught on they ran around picking up as many eggs as they could fit into their bags. All together it was a great day!

I cannot believe the semester is almost over! I have 4 more hours of volunteering to do and then I am done at Lighthouse. Thinking about it though, volunteering with the infants has been such a wonderful experience that I think I might continue some next year!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Hey Summit!!

Hey Guys! Hope all is well.  Almost done with what has seemed like the busiest semester of my life.  I can't believe it's almost over though.  Tiff will be back on Monday from her meet in South Africa! Yay! Then we will have our easter egg hunt on wednesday and we are really looking forward to that.  Like Deanna said, getting ready for it will be a lot of fun!! We will take a night and fill all of the eggs with candy and stuff.  The kids will be so cute searching for them.  They love being outside, so hopefully the weather will be nice enough for them to do that.  I am still working on my hours, but since I have been a teacher aide as well this semester, balancing time has been hard with Nationals and being sick, but I am working on it! I have really enjoyed being with this group of kids.  Some days they are hard to handle, but they have been doing great now.

I think that the teachers have really appreciated us working there. I think that they needed our extra hands with the kids sometimes.  The kids also bond with us and love us being there with them.  Its fun sometimes for little ones to meet new people and get to have someone else there.  Lighthouse has really done a great job with their new facility.  I feel that it has been much more organized than the other location.  I know that we as a group have enjoyed working at this one more as well.  It is definitely different going between working at a high school (which is where my teaching is) to volunteering at a daycare.  It's fun to play cute games with them and just "be a kid" again.

When I first started lighthouse, I honestly didn't like working in any room but the infant room.  I have now grown to really like the preschoolers (of course still love the little babies).  I have a huge respect for preschool teachers and think that the lighthouse organization is doing a great thing! I hope they keep it up for many years to come.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Showers bring Summit Flowers

Helloooo Summit!
How was everyone's Technology Fast? Awesome right?! Well I actually thought it was but that is besides the point. Our apartment is doing very well. We are all getting antsy for the summer though. Tiff is still in South Africa kicking butt and hopefully she will be back again with us on Monday! Lighthouse is better than ever. Tomorrow is the last time I'm going to go in by myself to volunteer! I can't believe it's almost been the second semester already! I'm not complaining however, and I'm sure you aren't either! We haven't made much progress with Lighthouse so far besides the hours we go volunteer there, but what we are looking forward to the most is the Easter Egg Hunt we are planning for them! I know through all of my work in the Purple Room with the preschoolers I have gotten so close to the kids and I can't wait to see their faces when we show them what we have done for them! I'm not so excited about stuffing the eggs full of goodies but it just calls for another girls movie night!
Lighthouse has grown so much as an organization over the past semester. They have organized so much and they seem to really have things under control. They are really fitting into the church nicely and the kids are responding to it very well. That is one of my favorite parts about working with Lighthouse. I feel like I am making such a difference there. When I work in the Purple Room, the teachers always thank me a million times when my hour is up, and even when I'm working for Dolly, I can just see the appreciative look on her face. She doesn't have an hour in her day to file papers like I do and when there is a lot on her plate she really looks to us to help out. I love being a part of that.
One of the things that challenged me about Lighthouse was that being with the kids somedays was very stressful and hard work. It didn't dampen my experience at all, it was just one of those things you have to deal with. They would misbehave and treat their teachers very disrespectful somedays and you could just tell how hard it was for the teachers who had to work there. I give them all kudos for doing everyday what I did twice a week only for an hour. And I got stressed in that amount of time!
Apart for tomorrow's last hour and the Easter Egg Hunt our Lighthouse days are coming to a close faster than we know it. It is sad, but we know we can always go and volunteer there now if we ever wanted to. It is a good feeling to know that. Also, it has been such a pleasure meeting all of the kids and staff. It opened my eyes to a world that I might be facing here before I know it and it gave me good experience that I will need for the future. I loved working there and being apart of all of their families. As a little boy Genard told me once, "I love you mommy." And even though it was really scary hearing that, it was also kind of a cool thing. I hope you guys have had as awesome experience as we have with this project. See you all in class Friday!