Sometimes during the crazy life of being a college student (or whatever is making your life crazy) you need to take time and read a children’s book. Trust me, your day could turn out to be better just because you got to escape into a quick, cute story with lots of pictures! I read a children’s book last year that I have since added to my favorite children’s book list. I like this book so much that whenever I give presents to people who are in their earlier years, I give them this book. Why do I love this book? There are two main reasons.  First, the artwork in the book just makes me happy.  When I look at it, I just go “WOW.”  The second reason is because the message of the story still sticks with me, motivating me to keep going, keep trying, and keep serving.

The colors are so pretty!

The book is called Giraffes Can’t Dance. The story follows a Giraffe named Gerald whose legs bend in a different way, causing him to have some troubles walking. Each year, all the animals in the jungle come together for a dance party. Gerald always feels so awkward because he tries and tries and he just can’t get the hang of dancing, and all the other jungle animals laugh at him. One night after being completely embarrassed at the dance party, Gerald goes into a clearing in the jungle and looks up to the moon. That’s when his new friend the cricket comes up to him and asks him what is wrong. Gerald says to the cricket with a very sad face that all the other animals say he just can’t dance. That’s when the cricket suggests that maybe Gerald hasn’t found the right music yet. The cricket then plays his violin and suddenly Gerald is the best dancer in the whole jungle. All of his jungle friends come and look in awe over what Gerald can do. Gerald found music that he loved, helping him to become a great dancer.

Gerald talking to his jungle friends

I think that Gerald’s story of finding his music correlates to me and my service story. When I first came to Fresno State I couldn’t find anywhere to serve that felt right. I kept feeling this way until I found Alternative Spring Break and Saturday Sports! Both these programs had me working with children, playing sports, making art projects, and creating a safe place for kids in the Fresno community to play. I found service work that I could actually do and do a good job at it! I truly felt that not only was I giving back, my service work was giving back to me. I found service work that made my heart smile.

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Alternative Spring Break 2013

Sometimes you try and try and you just don’t feel like you have found where you need to serve, you feel out of place, you might even begin to think that you can’t even give back at all.  But, my friend, that is so not the case – you just haven’t found your music yet! Just like how Gerald found his music, you will find a place to serve and you will thrive. Don’t worry if you haven’t found yours yet, KEEP TRYING!  You might be wondering where to start.  There is a fabulous resource on campus that can act as your cricket and give you service opportunities that you would have never thought of!  Stop by the Richter Center in the Thomas Building, Room 107. I also encourage you to sign up for the by-weekly service newsletter The Epicenter, this resource is filled with all kinds a different opportunities. Try different things out. These two resources can surely get you on your track of finding your service.

Have you found your music that YOU love? Have you ever volunteered or served somewhere that you didn’t expect that you would like, but did? Are you currently serving the community? Have you ever been into the Richter Center?

– Ambassador Ludie Olenchalk

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