It Was a Three Hour Drive, My First Experience With Community Service

Written by Lion’s Heart Member, Chandler C., as her Senior Speech given at the Lion’s Heart awards ceremony on Sunday, June 5, 2016. Chandler was asked to write an essay and talk about her experiences, the group, her volunteer work, how it got her ready for college. To talk to the newer Members of Lion’s Heart and be inspirational. Here is her wonderful speech. Chandler will be attending UCLA in the fall. Fantastic job, Chandler!

It was a three hour drive, my first experience with community service.

My dad drove my family across the border into Mexico.  We navigated dirt roads until we reached an orphanage.  Toothless smiles and bright eyes greeted us at our car; laughter filled the entire courtyard as we played tag and board games.  I pulled a soccer ball from the trunk–this was a game-changer.  I learned how my love of sports could be used to form relationships and bridge any disparity of language and culture.

From this point on, I told myself I would dedicate a large portion of my life to serving others, and Lion’s Heart has been an integral part in accomplishing this.

But you don’t need to drive three hours to Mexico to serve others, although big service trips to different cities, states, or even countries may seem like the biggest way to make a difference.  It’s a step onto campus; that is how you start to serve others.

Whether you are stepping onto a middle school, high school, or college campus next year, each one of us has abundant opportunities to serve and truly make a difference in our communities.  For me, joining IMPACT here at Tesoro filled my time, where I served not only my high school peers, but I learned how to be a leader, something that I will use for the rest of my life.

Lion’s Heart did the same–there are positions within each group that prepare you for earning larger leadership roles, and each service trip presents an opportunity for a member to take charge and plan, or collaborate with others to ensure the plans come to fruition.  My group was the perfect representation of this: every person in the group was an officer at some point, and we had numerous group service trips where working together was essential.  Since seventh grade, we have done beach clean-ups, made blankets for hospitalized kids, traveled to Isaiah’s House in Santa Ana (a homeless women’s shelter), decorated floats for the Rose Parade, volunteered at Special Camp for Special Kids, sorted toys at the Toys for Tots warehouse, worked at the Ronald McDonald house, and many of the members have even traveled to different countries, such as Argentina and Costa Rica.

To all of the older and graduating members: don’t forget everything Lion’s Heart has shown us, the power of a simple gesture of serving.  Don’t forget to bring this servant heart with you as you continue your journey, wherever you may go.

To the newer and younger members: embrace everything Lion’s Heart offers.  Go to every serving event. Lead your group in one of the four officer positions.  Create and plan new ways to serve.  Search for serving opportunities, even in the smallest ways.  Know that Lion’s heart will help you prepare for your future–it helped me get into my dream school.  I wrote my college essay on my various community service experiences, starting from my high school campus and finishing with my service trip to Argentina last summer. Lion’s Heart has helped me develop a perpetual habit of community service, a skill I cannot wait to embrace in my new community.

Being in this organization truly has changed my life, and I know that the 6,637 hours of service my group has put in has changed the lives of countless others as well.  Remember to always embrace your own lion’s heart, utilizing your extreme courage and fortitude, and serve others to develop empathy and strengthen the community around you.

We, at Lion’s Heart, are truly humbled and inspired by your words. Thank you for writing such a wonderful speech and for letting us share it with our friends. Best of luck to you in all your upcoming adventures and keep volunteering! 

For more information on Lion’s Heart see our website lionsheartservice.org.

 

 

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