Stories of Service

Better World Books Project (Marion Krieger)

One of the most important lessons this project has taught me is the importance of a group of people from completely different backgrounds coming together to join for one common cause and to make a difference.  It showed me the essence of the meaning “think globally and act locally”.  It was impressive of how we were able to collect an immense amount of books in such a short time to help increase the funding for education and literacy worldwide.  Teamwork was the key factor in this project and the assignment of tasks to individuals was the way to a successful outcome.  Everybody in my group did their share of the work for a communal effort.  All group members seemed to have their eyes on the prize and not just did they do their assigned tasks but went above and beyond with their organizing, communication, and event planning.  I was skeptical in the beginning of the group effort because it often happens that in class projects few actually step up and do the work, but in our group everyone pitched in to create a small democratic group model where every voice was heard and respected.  I thought this project to be a good example of how to apply the learned material in the lectures to reality.  It encouraged me to pay more attention and be involved in local activism and made me think about how many books we could potentially have collected if we would have started it in the beginning of the semester, or even for an entire year.  Overall I thought this was a more than successful project and time well spent.  I enjoyed working together with my group and not only did I have plenty of interesting and influencing experiences doing this project, I have also gained good friends!

Poverty Project (Yumiko Llontop)

My recent experience with my classmates preparing and giving food to people at a Berkeley homeless shelter made me aware of the poverty and hunger that some Americans and even immigrants are experiencing right now. Even though we had a short time to organize this project, my group felt that somehow, at some level, made a difference for people here in California, and in particular we gave our time and dedication to make contact one on one with the needy. I felt like I was doing something to fight poverty and hunger through this class project.

During this process each student in the group shared our own stories about poverty, and somehow that process had the effect of making us all feel the need to do something about poverty and hunger. The class project helped me to feel a greater sense of empowerment: first, through the initiative of using my ideas about the issue to plan the project; and second, actually making the plan a reality. There were many terrific ideas shared within the group, but because of time we could not do all of them. However, we did make a plan and the end result was well organized. We had meetings, made a plan, developed strategy, and set a specific target. When I went to distribute pamphlets about our project, I was surprised to notice that many immigrants were unemployed and totally unprepared for the situation they found themselves in, particularly with regards to providing food for their families. And from others I heard positive comments that we were making a difference in California. It was beneficial to complete the project, because through it I could share information and let others know that there are many organizations to help the needy in many ways. I believe that I can use the techniques we used to reach our specific target for other organizations or projects.

During the lunch time shared with the needy, I heard about surprising and unfair experiences that moved me to think I should help these people, who are men and women like me. However, if I think about it, I have been doing it through my church where I volunteer to help with the children and youth groups. I also noticed that almost all of us in our group were touched by the project and moved to show our humanitarian side to the public. I hope this is not the only time we will fight issues such as poverty and hunger, but the beginning of other projects that will have a local or even global impact.