For me, this year has been a year of change, growth and new experiences. Coming into the Bonner program this year after spending the past semester abroad was definitely a big transition. I am currently at a new site with new roles and a new perspective on the poverty that strikes High Point daily. My new role is at the YWCA and since my passion lies in event planning, I am able to combine my passion for serving with experience for my future career.
Although extremely excited about my new position, it comes to me with an unknown territory. I am meeting with new staff, figuring out my new role as well as learning how I can better serve the community through building relationships at this service site.
One of the things that constantly goes through my head while serving is, “What small difference can I make, even though there is so much work to be done?”. Through chatting with other Bonners, I realize how overwhelming it is when entering a service site. There is SO much to be done at a non-profit and if you’re type A like me, you want to solve as many problems as you can, as quickly as possible. One of the main things I have learned over the past few weeks of service at the YWCA is that I must take each new task, one step at a time.
Over the next year, I will be helping the Women in Transition program at the YWCA through program planning and development. This program helps women who are going through any kind of transition (ie divorce, abuse, finding a new job). Thinking about it now, I believe this is exactly where I am supposed to be. As these women are adjusting to their transition, I will be adjusting as well as I work at a new service site in my senior year of college. Finding my way at this new site will surely be consuming but I have a feeling the rewards that come from it will be immense.
When I was first asked to apply for the Bonner Program, I had little to no idea what the program actually was never mind what they did to influence the community. Now, eight months after accepting my position with the program, I am beyond grateful for the service opportunities Bonner has provided to me. Not only has the program helped me grow as a leader but it has also helped me become a service-minded individual.
My service site as a Bonner is at the Macedonia Resource Center where I serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for a program called Learning Together. Myself, along with another Bonner, and service learning students from High Point University, work together to provide homework help to children of refugee families. These children may grow up in households where English is not known so homework can be extremely difficult for children in elementary school. Twice a week we help these children learn their math and English skills while their mothers attend a class that teaches them English as well as life skills at no cost.
My time at Learning Together has truly taught me a lot about the hardships many families face in this area. Beyond High Point University there is a community that needs our help and I am so grateful that the Bonner Leader and Service Learning programs are able to provide at least a little assistance to the families in need. I feel as though my service work as a Bonner Leader at Learning Together has taught me about different cultures and helped enrich my life as I enrich the lives of these children. By helping them learn, I am able to see their successes as they come into class excited that they got an A+ on a spelling test or that they can complete their math problems all by themselves. Because of the Bonner program, I now have the knowledge to recognize community adversities which allows me to start assisting these issues one small step at a time.