FINALS ARE COMING!

24 Nov

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It is that time of year, when decorations are everywhere, holiday music is playing, and food becomes the greatest gift of all. However, I am not talking about the holidays. I am talking about finals week. With finals around the corner and with so many distractions around, it is difficult to stay focused. Here are a few tips to remember while studying for finals:

  1. Snack while you study.
    It is important to eat healthy snacks while you study, not only for your own health but it will also improve your ability to focus.
  1. Sleep.
    Although many people pull all-nighters before exams, it is very important to be well rested before a final to better maintain all the information.
  1. Take Breaks.
    It is important to study at your own pace. But to better maintain the information you are learning, study in intervals.

That being said, what study habits will you use to study for finals? What’s your favorite study snack? Are you ready?

Good Luck!

~Ambassador Nicole

[Image Courtesy of SodaHead]

Raising Awareness for Hunger and Homelessness

17 Nov

Fresno State students volunteer to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness. Photo Courtesy of: Food Recovery Network

As the holidays approach, individuals take the time to reflect about what they are thankful for and are often more willing to donate food, some of their time, and attention to those less fortunate. Because people are filled with the spirit of thankfulness and giving back, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness sets aside the week prior to Thanksgiving every year to sponsor the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, more than 750 high schools, universities and community groups all across the nation unite to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness. This year, NHHAW will take place November 17th-22nd on our campus.  Fresno State will be participating in NHHAW through the engagement of service learning classes, clubs and organizations in different events and activities to bring awareness to these social issues in the nation, California and the San Joaquin Valley.

Your participation in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week will not only help raise awareness for the community, but can help build your leadership skills as you collaborate with your friends, classmates and other student leaders.  Collectively, we can work to eliminate the myth that hunger and homelessness are inevitable in our society and instead realize that ending hunger and homelessness is attainable.

I encourage you or your organization to participate in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. You might know someone who is affected by hunger or homelessness. You might know someone who knows someone who is affected by these issues. Regardless, think about why this week is important and the impact your service can have on our community.

What ideas do you have that can help raise awareness about hunger and homelessness?

If you cannot donate your time, what else can you do to end hunger and homelessness?

~Ambassador Juan

Kindness: Spread the Word & Spread the Love

12 Nov

What does it mean to be kind? What are some ways to show kindness? Well, let me tell you what I know about kindness. An act of kindness does not have to be big to be considered great or significant because the smallest acts and gestures could make the biggest difference. I think we could all agree on this. However, how can you do acts of kindness when we do not have time because we work, go to school, and have all these activities going on? I understand that the lack of time is a problem for many people who would like to participate in service efforts. This is one of the reasons why I love the idea of contributing to all kinds of service efforts in a variety of ways in a campaign effort that starts today: Random Acts of Kindness Week (RAK Week).

Random Acts of Kindness Week is taking place November 10 through November 15. Aside from promoting a culture of kindness on our campus, RAK week gives us the opportunity to serve others in a small but impactful way. The acts may be holding the door open to people, paying a compliment to a stranger, or just writing a note to a loved one, etc. There is a million things one can do, but if you need some ideas, you can always visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.

Last year was my first year experiencing the effects that a small act of kindness could have on others. I saw people making an interaction with others that were complete strangers instead of being on their phone while waiting in line. Students let the staff and professors know they were appreciated. There were people buying Starbucks or a meal for the person that was behind them in line; kind notes were written and spread; people looked happy and cheerful.

This is just a great and huge service campaign that Fresno State gets to participate in, and we are part of it. We just have to take the initiative to spread kindness.

We have to let fear of the unknown go because “when we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”- The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)

So, with this said, what do you plan to do for your act of kindness? What act of kindness do you do on a daily basis? How could you help spread kindness?

-Ambassador Jazmin De La Torre

Service gave me a Purpose

10 Nov

Featured image

Ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of changing the world. However, I never understood how hard it would be to change the world by myself and that no matter how hard I tried to do something, changing the world would be something unrealistic. I started getting involved in community service in middle school and I enjoyed making a difference; the more I served the more I loved it.  I was serving at Poverello House—a community benefit organization that serves meals to those that are homeless and hungry—when I realized the reason why I loved doing service.

During this service experience, I spent two hours cutting tomatoes.  If you think about it, it does not sound like something fun to be doing or something that someone would love. The reason why this helped me realize why I loved doing community service was because I was contributing with a team to make someone’s day better. Someone was going to be able to have a meal for the day. This was the moment when I realized that the little girl’s dream was possible because I did not have to do something big to change the world since by doing small acts I was changing.  Doing community service does not mean you have to do something extravagant to make it great and worth it because the power of volunteering has to do with making a difference. The difference is not only for the place or person you are doing your service for, the difference is also for you. Through community service you grow as a person, and perhaps service could give you a purpose like it did for me. Remember sometimes the smallest acts, to us, mean life changing experience to others.

Now that you know my story and why I love service, what does service mean to you? How has community service impacted your life or someone’s life?

- Ambassador Jazmin De La Torre

Photo Credit: http://grownuptruth.com/everybody-can-be-great-because-anybody-can-serve/

Spread the World to Spread the Love: 3rd Annual Random Acts of Kindness Week

7 Nov

RAK Handbill (F)

Brought to you by the Richter Center Ambassadors

#RAKweek14 #FresnoStateServes

 

Schedule of Festivities Celebrating Fresno State’s Random Acts of Kindness Week!

 

Kindness Kick-Off

Monday, November 10, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Free Speech Area

Stop by the Richter Center Ambassador Random Acts of Kindness Table for kindness ideas and contribute to our thank you poster for local Veterans.

 

Veteran’s Day Parade

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 | 11:00 AM | Downtown Fresno

Celebrate and thank our Veteran’s for their service at the parade in downtown Fresno. (Learn more about the parade: http://www.fresnovdp.org/index.php)

 

Fishing for Kindness

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Free Speech Area

Stop by the Ambassador booth to “fish” for some kindness ideas.  Vintage Days, USU Productions, and Alternative Spring Break will also be on-hand to share their ideas for spreading kindness.

 

Movie Night featuring The Ultimate GiftA Life Experience Becomes a Gift

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM | McLane Hall 121

When his wealthy grandfather dies, trust fund baby Jason Stevens inherits his grandfather’s crash course on life: 12 tasks-or gifts-designed to challenge Jason in improbable ways. The “course” sends Jason on a journey of self-discovery that forces him to reevaluate his priorities and determine what he thinks the most important things in life really are.

 

Kindness Report

Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Free Speech Area

Celebrate World Kindness Day by visiting the Ambassador Random Acts of Kindness table to share your story of kindness and get a treat! 

 

Kindness Panel

Friday, November 14, 2014 |12:00 PM – 12:50 PM | FFS 313

Guest speakers Dr. Nkosi, Dr. Levine, and Dr. Zografos will offer their thoughts and wisdom about kindness.

 

All week, we encourage you to participate in Random Acts of Kindness to help perpetuate a culture of kindness.  Share your kindness stories with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/richtercenter or tweet @richtercenter using #RAKweek14 and #FresnoStateServes.

What’s the Difference?

3 Nov
Courtesy of Nicole S.

Ambassadors Heather, Nicole, and Jazmin working on the tree well project during Make a Difference Day.

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” –John F. Kennedy

Make a Difference Day is a national event that promotes community service to improve the lives of others. Fresno State collaborates with Fresno PARCS (Parks, After school, Recreational, and Community Service) and the Sierra Foothill Conservancy to create long-lasting projects that benefit the community.

Since it was my first time volunteering at a Make a Difference Day event, I was very excited to lend a hand in refurbishing and beautifying Woodward Park. There were two tasks at this site: we repaired fences/barricades surrounding the park and created tree wells for tree irrigation. From my perspective, the highlight of the day was observing harmonious teamwork. Each individual contributed his or her greatest effort to the task at hand. As a group, we were motivated and willing to put in our best efforts to complete our objectives. I was thrilled to see new faces and meet other Fresno State students that also enjoyed community service. Although it was an exhausting day, it was rewarding to see how much we were able to accomplish in just a few hours. One day when I return to visit Woodward Park, I will not only be able to enjoy the scenic views, but also be more appreciative of all the work that goes into keeping the parks clean on a daily basis.

After reflecting on this event, I realized that even the smallest things could be a part of something bigger. Each person was a puzzle piece, and by putting in time, energy, and effort we were able to all contribute to improving the park as a whole.  I look forward to attending the next service event called Serving Fresno Day on November 22nd, 2014. I hope to see you there as well.

What impact did Make a Difference Day have on you?

How can you make a difference everyday?

Will you be at Serving Fresno Day on November 22nd?

-Ambassador Nicole

Hands On for Service: Assisting during the Holidays

30 Oct
Fresno State students help out at the Community Food Bank, preparing Holiday baskets.

Fresno State students help out at the Community Food Bank by preparing Holiday baskets.

Hi Everyone!

My name is Shola and I am a first-time Ambassador. I’m very excited to do my first blog post!

After Halloween, all the holidays seem to rush and overlap one after another. During that time, while we are celebrating our families and what we are thankful for, we should keep in mind that there are individuals and families that are less fortunate than us.

There are so many volunteer organizations in Fresno that aim to assist the best they can. The Poverello House is a well-known and its great place to begin your community service journey. Fresno Rescue Mission is another great place to inquire about volunteering.

For the past few years, I’ve started to become more aware of the issue of being homeless for the holiday. It worries me that over the next few years, we will be seeing more and more families and people on the streets, with no one to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other family or religious traditions.

You might be thinking, “it’s so far away, I can worry about it later”.  That, however, causes the issue to become less important. Thinking about the issue and how getting involved now will be worth it to see those that need your help feeling happy and thankful for their 2014 year.

~Ambassador Shola

Be Selfish

22 Oct

Yeah, you read that right: be selfish. Take care of yourself for once. No, I’m not talking about going to the gym regularly or getting your nails done once a week. I’m talking about deep, soulful nourishment. The kinda stuff that gets you up every morning with pep in your step and a drive to conquer the world. Isn’t that what coffee is for, you say? No, I’m not referring to a substance that will result in an addiction, interfere with your sleeping patterns, and turn you into every co-worker’s worst nightmare. It’s far more potent than that. In fact, it’ll add years to your life, increase your self-confidence, and keep you fit. Surprise, surprise- it’s volunteering. You knew it would get redirected to this topic somehow, didn’t you?

Volunteering in its most basic form is performing a kind deed without the expectation of an extrinsic reward such as money, awards, recognition, etc. Emphasis on the word “extrinsic.” There’s no shame in volunteering for the sake of purpose, positivity, and/or performance, all of which fall under intrinsic value. We don’t all have to be aiming towards alleviating world poverty to get ourselves to assist at a local food pantry. Sometimes you can give yourself a pass to participate to put a smile on your face. Wanna know what’ll happen if you do? Your smile will be the cause of numerous other grins and giggles.

You are of no good to anyone, especially to yourself, if you’re just going through the daily motions of this thing called life. It’s so easy to get all caught up in our mundane, strenuous lives that we begin to disconnect from our surroundings, leading to some really negative thoughts about ourselves and those around us. And as we all know, bad thoughts pave the way for bad actions. Moral of the story:

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What cause(s) do you donate your time to? How do you feel after participating at a voluntary event?

-Ambassador Nancy

[Image via Caring Choices]

Can I Do It?

20 Oct

Fair warning: If you have time to see this video, then watch it. It is extremely motivating. The next paragraph is a summary, just in case you decide you don’t have time to watch it just yet. J

Jessica Jackley gave an amazing talk about how she was motivated to help those in poverty. She began as a young girl, taught in Sunday school class, that it was her job to “help the least of these.” She wanted to be useful in the world, but she quickly learned that poverty would always exist. She began to fear, and eventually she developed a sense of simply tuning out all of the stories about destruction. She still gave to people during this moment, but her motivation was not to offer help out of generosity, but to help in order to go on with her day. She described it as a type of transaction in which she would exchange money for distance from these people. Though she still had a desire to help, she did not know what to do. Eventually, she came across the work of Muhammad Yunus, a winner of a Nobel Peace prize, known for starting social businesses to aid those in need. She entered a world of micro-financing. She described this as financial services and products of the poor. She realized that the best way for people to change their lives is to gain control of it, so after learning more about micro-lending, she began a social business, Kiva. Kiva connects people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty by having a person-to-person micro-lending website. This business has contributed 217 million dollars in loans to borrowers in 213 countries with a repayment rate of almost 99 percent. Seeing the benefits of micro-lending and how people can move out of the poverty zone has motivated Jessica to keep going in this field.

This entire story shows the power of motivation. From the start, she was motivated to bring change, and after times of frustration, her mind motivated her to move from a situation that was unpleasant, causing her to simply ignore poverty. This was her way of coping from not being able to do what drove her towards accomplishment. Even in her moments of ignoring the world around her, she was extrinsically motivated to help when she was cornered due to the pressures she faced. Finally, after coming into contact with Yunus and seeing the amazing consequences of empowering people through micro-lending, Jackley was once again motivated to start her own social business to aid in the process of eliminating poverty.

It is my hope that you too can also be motivated by this video, empowering you to take action in the world around you. There are countless, creative ways to get involved in the community. Just go for it!

-Ambassador Amanda

How did this video motivate you? What are things that bother in your community that you want to change? How can you be part of a movement that is part of that change

Spring Break at the Ronald McDonald House

17 Oct

Some of my fellow teammates with Alternative Spring Break 2014.

Here we are planting colorful flowers in the serenity garden.

All throughout high school, I had been involved in community service in a multitude of ways. From Key Club, to Interact Club, to class office and ASB, there was always a way I could serve my community through these organizations. Moving to Fresno from Hollister was a huge, yet exciting transformation for me, however, getting involved in my new community was a bit of a challenge because I had no clue where to start. I finally found my niche in this community, unexpectedly, in Spring break ’13. When I accidentally stumbled upon the Alternative Spring Break program, I decided to apply. The application was followed by an interview, and before I knew it I had been assigned to the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald is a foundation that provides a  temporary living space for families who have a child(ren) in the  hospital for serious conditions. This program runs mostly through  volunteers. Without volunteers, this organization may not be as  successful as it is today. As a team, each day we prepared meals for  the families staying there, cleaned, planted a garden and conducted  activities that the children could participate in. Something like this was unlike many of the places I have served at, because while we were there, we got to meet many of the families and even got to know some of them on a more personal level.

Families can use the serenity garden as a space for reflection or to relax after a long day of being with their ill child.

The reason this experience made such an impact on me was because on the surface, I was unable to see the struggles of the families that were there. I had not known why their child was in the hospital, what their financial situation was, or how long they were going to be there. I was simply there to make their lives a tiny bit easier, because although it may not seem like it at first, having a meal already prepared for a parent when they come back after a long day at the hospital can lessen one worry out of the millions they may have. For me, it was amazing to see how the children of a sick sibling tried to stay strong for eachother and their parents on the surface; and even more so how strong many of the parents and family members appeared. I was astonished by one of the fathers, who had already been there for a couple of months with his family, was still trying to make memories with his other children despite what they were going through. He took pictures and laughed with each of his children at all our events, including the Easter egg hunt we put on. Someone with that much perseverance reminded me why I love community service so much and how it is so essential to give your time to someone else who might need it.

ronald-mcdonald-house-charitiesVolunteering at the Ronald McDonald House helped me regain my passion for service, and opened many doors for me, including my position as a Richter Center Ambassador, in which I can now help other students find their niche in this large community. For those of you who didn’t know, the Alternative Spring Break program is every spring break and you can start applying Spring Semester!  If you are interested in volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, contact (559) 261-3660 for available dates. I highly recommend both of these!

Have you been wanting to get involved in community service (on campus or off) but don’t know where to start? Come check out the Richter Center in the Thomas Building and we can help you!

What is your favorite thing about community service?

What sparks that passion for you?

-Ambassador Alex

Photos courtesy of Fresno State Alternative Spring Break Facebook

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