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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

Presenting in Portland

29 Apr
It's official!  The Richter Center Ambassadors' presentation as listed in the conference handbook.

It’s official! The Richter Center Ambassadors’ presentation as listed in the conference handbook.

The Richter Center Ambassador team traveled to Portland, Oregon last week to present at the 16th Annual Continuums of Service Conference.  Six of us made the trip and delivered a student-led discussion of ways to increase the impact of student volunteers at institutions of higher education.  My fellow Ambassadors Alexi Kimura, Song Vang, Paulina Flores, Emily Hentschke, Amanda de Lima and I presented The Richter Center Ambassadors: A Framework for Recruiting and Retaining Student Leaders to a packed conference room.  Two of our peers from the Richter Center S.E.R.V.E. Committee – Oshea Carter and Bianca Mancilla supported us from the audience.

We all found the conference to be very beneficial as we were able to learn about all the other awesome things going on in the world of community service in higher education.

We are already making plans for presenting at the 17th Annual Continuums of Service Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii in April of 2014.

Visit the Washington Campus Compact website to see conference highlights and a list of the presentations.

All hands in!  The team is ready to present.

All hands in! The team is ready to present.

If you are interested in what the Ambassadors work to achieve at Fresno State and wish to further your leadership skills and commitment to service, please consider applying for one of the Richter Center student leadership positions.  The S.E.R.V.E. committee plans and coordinates service events for Fresno State.  The Reflection Facilitators lead a meaningful reflection of the days’ work at the various one-day service events held throughout the academic year.  And the Ambassadors, of course, promote service work to the Fresno State community and serve as liaisons between students and the Richter Center.  Applications can be obtained at fresnostaterca.com/recruitment/ and must be turned in by Wednesday, May 1st.

-Ambassador Daniel

Portland OR Bust!

15 Apr
Richter Center Ambassadors present a poster at the Annual Continuums of Service  conference in Seattle, WA.  This year they will present a workshop at the conference in Portland, OR and two members of the SERVE Committee will be there to support them.

Here we are presenting a poster at last year’s Annual Continuums of Service conference in Seattle, WA. This year we will present a workshop at the conference in Portland, OR

The Richter Center Ambassadors are at it again! In a few short weeks a group of six Ambassadors will travel to the 16th annual Continuums of Service Conference in Portland. In February, we received the good news that we would have the opportunity to present at the conference, the theme of which is ‘The Engaged Campus: Higher Education for the Public Good’. The COS conference is the largest higher-education community service-learning conference in the United States and the we are very excited to present a 75-minute interactive talk entitled The Richter Center Ambassadors: A Framework for Recruiting and Retaining Student Leaders.

The Ambassador team is also very excited to learn about the new trends and best-practices in community engagement and service learning so that we can bring these ideas back to campus and become even more effective leaders and champions of service. Please wish us luck and, if you happen to be in the Portland area, consider stopping by the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel, Salon B, at 3:45 on Thursday, April 25th to see us in action.

If you are a Fresno State student and you are particularly interested in the work we are doing as Ambassadors (including our travel opportunities) then be sure to stop by the Recruitment Mixer this Friday, April 19th at 3:00 PM in Library, room 3212.  Learn more about recruitment here.

-Ambassador Daniel

A Heart for Service

3 Apr

heart for serviceOne of my favorite things about serving is that it has introduced me to some people with pretty amazing hearts. Some of the people who have inspired me and touched my life the most have been those that I have met while volunteering. These people come from all walks of life with different backgrounds and skill-sets; the only thing they all have in common is their heart for service.

Having a heart for service is something that anyone and everyone is capable of simply by having the right mindset and experiencing meaningful volunteerism.

Here are the characteristics that I think make up a heart for service:

An Open Heart: Volunteer work can introduce you to an incredible variety of people and situations. It is so important to have an open heart and be willing to stretch yourself beyond the norm. The wider you open your heart, the more room there is for it to be filled.

A Humble Heart: Volunteer opportunities allow you to lend a hand to people who could benefit from some extra help. When serving others, it is crucial to remember that although you may be fortunate enough to be in a better situation than them, you are not a better person than them. An important part of service is making people feel valued and loved, and treating people like a charity case will have the opposite effect. Rather than feeling sorry for the people you help, try to feel inspired to help improve their situation.

A Grateful Heart: Volunteering allows for many opportunities for self-reflection. Be grateful that you have the chance to serve, to learn, and to grow. Also, let your service experiences aid in being thankful for your own life. Volunteering has definitely helped me to appreciate my family, my friends, and my life so much more.

A Strong Heart: Sometimes when serving you will be exposed to unfortunate situations and sad stories. Volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club and learning about the struggles some of the kids have to face has definitely sent me home in tears, so having a strong heart is something I am working on. It is all about finding the balance of feeling compassion without becoming disheartened. Strength allows you to be moved but not shaken.

A Joyful Heart: Volunteering has created some of my best and happiest memories. Serving allows you to do so much good that is it hard not to feel joyful and proud. Enjoy service and all of the great warm fuzzy feelings that go with it!

So, now we want to know what you think.  What do you think makes up a heart for service?

-Ambassador Emily

 

 

Support Richter Center Student-Leaders with the Live Discount Card

15 Mar

The Richter Center Ambassadors are currently engaged in a fundraiser to support our ongoing projects and activities. Live Discounts offers “The Live Card” which allows the cardholder to save money at over 500 locations in Fresno (and others throughout California)!  Discounts are offered in areas such as Food & Drink, Home & Auto, Beauty & Spa, Entertainment, and Shopping. Every location offers its own discount and cardholders are able to use it just about every day for an entire year!

There are many benefits to the Live Card!  For instance, there is no coupon book to lug around.  Simply show the Live Card at the participating location to receive the discount.  Also, check livediscounts.com to view current offers as well as new offers that are added all the time!

Live Discounts also offers a mobile app for iPhone and Android users.

The cards are $20 each and they last for an entire year (expiring March 31, 2014). Once you purchase the card, simply use the member number on the back to activate it on the website (livediscounts.com), create a login and start saving money.

Check out this short “How the Card Works” video to learn more!

To purchase your Live Discounts Card supporting the Richter Center Ambassadors, please stop by our office in the Thomas Building Room 107, or contact Ambassador Miguel at miguelvieira209@gmail.com.

Thanks!

-Ambassador Miguel

Kid’s Day: Are You Ready to Serve?

28 Feb
Fresno State students have fun working together to raise money for Children's Hospital Central California at a previous Kid's Day.

Fresno State students have fun working together to raise money for Children’s Hospital Central California at a previous Kid’s Day.

It’s that time of year again; the flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and the sun is driving away the chill of winter. The signs of the changing season are everywhere, including on the streets of Fresno where volunteers will be gathered in mass on Tuesday, March 5th armed with newspapers and friendly smiles in hopes of raising money for Children’s Hospital Central California.

It’s quite an inspiring sight to drive through Fresno on a Tuesday morning and see volunteers gladly giving their time and having a lot of fun in the process!  I highly encourage you to join your peers next Tuesday as they sell special editions of The Fresno Bee. Join the volunteers throughout the valley who will be braving the brisk morning air to stand on street corners and sell copies of the Kid’s Day newspaper.

At Fresno State, Kid’s Day is big deal. Last year, the students, staff, and faculty of the University collectively raised over $36,000 for Children’s Hospital Central California. It is absolutely extraordinary that the Fresno State community is so willing to give of their time for this worthy cause!

Richter Center Ambassadors arrive to campus at dawn to help distribute papers to student clubs and organizations who will be raising money throughout the city.  We love seeing how excited our peers are to get started selling papers and raising money and awareness for Children's Hospital Central California!

Richter Center Ambassadors arrive to campus at dawn to help distribute papers to student clubs and organizations . We love seeing how excited our peers are to get started selling papers in order to raise money and awareness for Children’s Hospital Central California!

As a Richter Center Ambassador, it is my duty to convince my peers to get involved with service and I cannot think of a more fun project than Kid’s Day; trust me, if you are looking to have a lot of fun and want to have the contentment that comes with the knowledge that you are helping kids right here in the Central Valley, this is the event for you. You don’t want to miss out!

If you are interested in volunteering, please follow this link: www.fresnostate.edu/academics/cesl/about/events.html

Sign up today!

 -Ambassador Daniel

Picturing the Change at I Love Me

26 Feb

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Earlier this month, we took Picture the Change to the I Love Me event sponsored by Fresno State’s Suicide Prevention Program and USU Productions.  It was great to see so many students willing to make a pledge to make a positive impact on the community.  Check out the latest pledges here.

And keep an eye out for the Picture the Change booth and your chance to make your pledge!

 

Consider International Community Service

15 Feb

Are you passionate about volunteering your time to community service? Are you interested in traveling out of the country?

Try combining the two, and consider community service abroad! Kofi Annan once said, “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” There are many different organizations providing opportunity to travel the world and engage in service. Some of these include:

International Student Volunteers

International Service Learning

Projects Abroad

Global Service Corps

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Ambassador Alexi with fellow volunteers in Costa Rica from International Student Volunteers, Summer 2012.

Ambassador Alexi with fellow volunteers in Costa Rica from International Student Volunteers, Summer 2012.

These all include various projects and sites that you can choose from. If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved in community service abroad or different organizations you can travel with, there will be a meeting on International Community Service on February 22, 2013, at 3:00 pm in USU 308. We will be discussing various organizations that provide opportunity to travel around the world, as well as fundraising tips to get you there. Also, pizza will be provided, so please stop by!

So, what do you think? Who’s interested in taking their passion for service abroad?  Where would you like to go?  Has anyone engaged in international service?  Share with us!

-Ambassador Alexi

Anybody Can Serve: Blood Drive & Kid’s Day

13 Feb

“Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are a few upcoming events where YOU can serve.

Fresno State Blood Drive

When: 02/12/13 – 02/14/13
Where: Busses located at Student Union, Education Building, Maple Mall, and Engineering East Building
Times: 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM
Extra info: To donate you must be in good general health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be at least 17 years old. Photo ID and Social Security Number are required at donor registration. Please eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids four hours prior to donation. Donating blood is not painful and takes less than an hour. YOUR donation could save up to three lives!
For more information on blood donation, please call the Central California Blood Center at 559.224.2900.
A Fresno State student sells Kids Day papers to raise money for Children's Hospital Central California.

A Fresno State student sells Kids Day papers to raise money for Children’s Hospital Central California.

Kids Day

When: 03/05/13
Where: Throughout the Central Valley
Times: Newspapers may be sold from 6:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.
Extra info: Join the Fresno State community in helping Children’s Hospital Central California provide health futures for all children.  Register for this annual fundraiser by visiting www.fresnostate.edu/academics/cesl/about/events.html and select the Kid’s Day link.  Questions can be directed to Renee Delport (rdelport@csufresno.edu).
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