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The Richter Center Ambassadors

The student group for the Jan & Bud Richter Center at Fresno State

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Kindness

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Ambassadors Lilliana and Alma with Alternative Spring Break Team Leader Ramiro spread kindness on World Kindness Day.

On Friday November 13, 2015 Richter Center Ambassadors tabled for World Kindness Day at Fresno State. The goal was to inform students about World Kindness Day and to encourage them to do an act of kindness for someone— someone they love or even a stranger. Suggestions ranged from feeding a vending machine, thanking someone, or volunteering time at an organization. These acts of kindness can certainly make someone’s day as well as be rewarding to the person who does them. There are endless possibilities on what you can do for others, and a plus is that most do not involve spending money.

Although there are certain days in the year in which kind acts are done on a large scale, I encourage you to do a random act of kindness whenever there is an opportunity to do so.
Will you act on Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, 2016?

~Ambassador Alma

3 Years Later: My Last Blog Post

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2014-2015 Richter Center Ambassadors

It’s easy at times to go through life simply doing what you have to do. You develop a routine, and you live each day after another in function of your routine. So, in junior high, I did what I had to do to get good grades, then I did the same in high school in order to get into college, and then I got to college… What now? Do I work hard to get into graduate school? Maybe I’m working hard to get a nice job right after college? When does it stop? Something shifted once I got here.

I don’t know if it is because for the first time, I felt like I was the one in charge of making my own decisions, or if maybe I looked forward to starting fresh, a new story with new people. Either way, I embraced this new beginning.

As a freshman, I was surrounded with opportunities to become involved on campus, but it wasn’t until I heard Daniel Ward give a presentation about a program he was involved in that I truly became enticed. The Richter Center Ambassadors are champions of service on this campus. It attracts students of all majors and backgrounds with a single passion: service. When I heard about it, I could not think of a better way to spend my time at Fresno State.

My first year as an Ambassador, I learned so much. I was surrounded by students who had been in this role for two or three years and as I grew more comfortable, I shared ideas of my own. I remember I was so nervous making my first presentation at the Continuums of Service (COS) conference, and I relied heavily on my peers. In my second year, I grew very close to the group of Ambassadors, and we chose new activities to do on our campus. I became a Campus Compact Fellow, so I could continue expanding the role of the Ambassador program. Now, in my third year, I see a new group of students with new ideas and energy to reach our campus.

I guess, it is possible to quantify the work that I have been a part of these past few years, but, to be honest, there really isn’t a good measuring tool that can demonstrate the effect this program has had on me. If it wasn’t for it, I would not have become involved with Camp Kesem Fresno State, which has been a source of some of my biggest accomplishments. I would not have gotten to really know people who have made such a strong impact in my life – people who model service in their daily lives.

The Richter Center became a home in this large campus, and the Richter Center Student Leaders became my family — the kind where we can go bowling together and then have some fro-yo late at night while we talk about life. These are people who taught me how to not just do my daily routine but instead make it a habit to go out of my way for someone else.

I am so grateful for my involvement with the Richter Center and the Ambassador group. I could not imagine going through college without them. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity you’ve given me!

-Ambassador Amanda

Nominate Now!

Nominate someone for Volunteer of the Year!
Nominate someone for Volunteer of the Year! Photo credit.

Do you know someone that loves to volunteer and should be recognized? Well, you are in luck! The Richter Center is now accepting nominations for the Volunteer of the Year award. This award is given to Fresno State students who have volunteered their time and efforts to better the community. Anyone can be nominated! Whether you are nominating someone else, yourself, or being nominated you can simply fill out this application. The applications are due to the Richter Center by Wednesday, March 25, 2015 before 5 p.m.

This is an awesome way to highlight the students of Fresno State that are committed to service. Moreover, it is a reminder to continue to serve. It is getting towards the end of the year where everyone is busy with midterms and sometimes we get so caught up in our work that we don’t take a break. Don’t get burnt out! Try to get out and volunteer instead. It doesn’t  matter how long, it still makes a difference. Don’t forget that if you are ever looking for a service activity, the Richter Center provides an endless amount of opportunities! Come by and check us out if you have any questions. We’re in the Thomas building room 107, or call us at 559-278-7079.

Who will you nominate and why? Have you ever volunteered recently?  Where is your favorite place to volunteer?

~Ambassador Nicole

Interview with Hannah Poore

SERVE Committee Member Hannah Poore
SERVE Committee Member Hannah Poore

This post is different from some of the ones I’ve have done in the past. Today, I’m sharing an interview with one of my peers in the Richter Center Student Leadership (RCSL) team. Hannah Poore has been a part of RCSL group for one year where she has been a member of the SERVE Committee.  Here is a little insight into her sweet journey with us. Thanks, Hannah, for contributing your story to our blog!

What’s your major and career goal? 

My major is Mass Communications and Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations, and I’m minoring in Sociology. My career goal is to do public relations for a socially-minded company whose cause I love and support and want to spread the word of!

Hannah Poore with fellow SERVE Committee members (Sharon Leyva and Cora Cha) help out at the Spring Community Service Opportunities Fair.
Hannah Poore with fellow SERVE Committee members (Sharon Leyva and Cora Cha) help out at the Spring Community Service Opportunities Fair.

What role do you play in RCSL?

For the SERVE Committee, I’m on the Public Relations and Marketing Committee. I create content for social media, help to make flyers advertising our one-day service events, and spread the word about our service events to media sources like the Bulldog Blog and the Collegian in order to make volunteers aware of the opportunity.

How did you hear about this group?

I heard about RCSL in [a class], from [RCSL members].  Specifically, Alexi Kimura encouraged me to attend a Richter Center Ice Cream Social at the end of my freshman year, and when I met the RCSL team there, I knew I wanted to join and work with them on their awesome service events.

What has been your favorite part about being part of this team?

My favorite part about being on this team has been getting to know the girls! I look forward to our weekly meetings, and I’ve made some really special friendships through RCSL. Yay!

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Hannah and her RSCL friends at the annual Richter Center Student Leader Retreat! Photo credit- Hannah

Why RCSL?

I joined this team because I’m passionate about service and making the world a better place, and all of you (SERVE, Richter Center in general) are too!  It’s amazing!  I love being around such positive and helpful people! It is so refreshing, and it’s wonderful to see our team’s work paying off at service events. I also love spreading the joy of service to others, like volunteers who attend our service events or people I talk to at tabling events, because it really is such a source of joy in my life, that I want others to know about it!

Have you considered being a part of the Richter Center Student Leadership group? If you want more information, please contact us fresnostaterca@gmail.com.

-Ambassador Amanda

Have You Found Your Music?

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

Recipe for Giving

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Time to give thanks and share what we have! Photo credit: Cyrano Blog Lemonde

The United States sets aside a day for giving thanks annually, and this Thursday families from all across the nation will be sitting around the dinner table to a turkey dinner in the spirit of giving thanks. Before you sit around the dinner table with family and friends this year, take the time to consider those who do not have the privilege of a home-cooked meal. You have the ability to provide them with a reason to be grateful. A simple gesture may brighten someone’s day. Perhaps you are unable to provide them a turkey dinner around the dinner table, but here is a recipe you can give:

Ingredients:

  • Prepare/purchase a meal for a homeless person (1 cup)
  • Volunteer at a local church (1 teaspoon)
  • Clean out your closet and donate unused items (4 oz)
  • Write a thank you letter (1 gallon)
  • Make blankets for the homeless (1 tablespoon)
  • Donate food to local food banks (the more lbs the better)
  • Dash of giving
  • Pinch of thanks

*Add the ingredients to your own preference. The recipe above may not be entirely edible but is guaranteed to feed your soul.

For more ingredients please visit the Richter Center. Or read this post by Ambassador Shola with more ideas on giving back during the holidays. The opportunities for giving are endless!

What are you thankful for?  How do you give back?  What is your recipe?  What other ingredients can we add to our recipe?

-Ambassador Juan

Spring into Service with us!

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Join us for Spring into Service on March 22, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM!

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Fresno State volunteers help revitalize Woodward Park during last semester’s Serving Fresno Day.

With triumphant Make a Difference Day and Serving Fresno Day behind us, we at the Richter Center joyfully look forward to the next one-day service opportunity, Spring into Service Day

Volunteers can choose from one of these awesome locations/ projects:

  • Planting and beautification of the group activity area at Woodward Park with Fresno PARCS
  • Planting trees and shrubs on our Fresno State campus.

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Fresno has a lot of critics, but with some positive attitudes and a little teamwork we can change that negativity! We of this under-appreciated Central Valley city are blessed with splendid sunshine, vibrant urban developments, rich and abundant fields of agriculture, and so much more. Everything we could ever need is right here. Most of us don’t have to worry about our next meal or finding shelter from day to day. We have a successful university full of bright minds just waiting to change the world.  Fresno is home to amazing, dedicated, down-to-earth people, and we shouldn’t doubt its potential for a second. All it takes to recognize its beauty is a little optimism. I can assure you that community service is one of the best ways to guarantee this much-needed positive outlook.image_28

Granted, there’s always room for improvement, and that’s just what Spring into Service is all about! The general consensus from our previous one-day service events was that although it was early on a Saturday morning, each and every one of us left our service project with feelings of accomplishment and camaraderie. We each became excited to watch our web of outreach unfold! Our goal at the Richter Center is to regenerate these positive vibes on March 22nd.14

Let’s work together to spread an awesome message about our community! Let’s revitalize Fresno! Spring into Service Day will be a springboard for the Spring into Service Lifestyle: where we’ll work every day to make our home even better!

Join us! You are officially invited!

Visit the Richter Center website to register by March 19th; space is limited.

 

Which Spring into Service site are you most interested in and why? What do you hope to gain by participating in Spring into Service?

~Ambassador Lilliana

Random Acts of Kindness: Pay it Forward!

“I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are—even if they’re bad—to change. ‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.”  -Trevor McKenney from Pay It Forward

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From Nov. 13 to Nov. 16, Fresno State had its first ever Random Acts of Kindness Week. The week was designed to not only promote kindness throughout our campus in simple acts like opening the door for people or saying thank you, but also to encourage people to “go out of their way to make someone’s day.” I heard of several instances of people purchasing coffee for the person behind them in line, students baking cookies or passing out treats for those they regularly see, and small notes given to express appreciation.

On Wednesday, the Richter Center hosted a movie night for students to watch Pay it Forward. The movie showed how a boy with an assignment to change the world tackled the task and trusted people to do it. The quote above captures the importance of not being stagnant with how things are, and emphasizes how each of our actions brings about consequences.

Fresno State students, I propose a challenge for each of us. Let’s try to start our own kindness chain. With each kind act you receive, pay it forward to three other people. These acts, for example, may be too difficult for one to accomplish alone, but with help, could be accomplished. We will see the effects of this not only in the people or causes we choose to partake in, but also a change in our lives. Are you up for it?

-Ambassador Amanda

Serving Fresno Day: Romain Park

 

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.”  -Mother Teresa 

The city of Fresno and surrounding population centers in the Central Valley are home to more than one million people.  If all of those people took a few hours to give back to the community that they call home, it isn’t hard to imagine the profound benefits for the region.   A group of approximately 50 Fresno State student and staff volunteers were able to lead the charge for this kind of change last Saturday, November 17th, at Romain Park in downtown Fresno.

Serving Fresno Day was a chance for us as citizens of the San Joaquin Valley to show our pride in our community and do our own small part to make our home that much nicer.  At our work site, the volunteers played an instrumental role in beautifying the area and instilling new life in the surrounding neighborhood; the scouring of bleachers and restrooms in the gymnasium and the digging of trenches for irrigation lines where trees will be planted proved to be wonderful projects for the volunteers.  At the end of the day, there was tremendous excitement over the work that had been completed and seeing the grateful looks on the faces of the staff at Romain Park and the children that were there for a karate class made the whole day worthwhile!

If you weren’t able to join the Richter Center on November 17th for a truly wonderful opportunity to share your time and love in the community that we call home, unfortunately, you missed out!  But the good news is that the Richter Center is planning on partnering with Romain for service projects in the spring, so be sure to sign-up when those dates are announced.

Ready to learn more about volunteering at Romain Park next semester?  http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/cesl/

Join the Ambassadors as we make Fresno, our home, a place full of love for all; see you in the spring!

-Ambassador Daniel 

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