Quote of the Month...

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~ Mother Teresa

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Alternative Break: Boone, North Carolina

     What made the Fall Alternative Break trip worth while?

     Maybe it was the beauty of the Autumn leaves on Rough Ridge Parkway, or perhaps the cool air of the Great Smoky Mountains, it may have even been the peanut butter and bologna sandwiches, but more than likely it was a combination of the entire experience that makes FAB Coordinators Jill Conley and Taylor Pennell look forward to planning future alternative break trips. 
The Viaduct View from the Rough Ridge Parkway
       This year FAB spent the weekend of fall break in Boone, North Carolina.  Rough Ridge Parkway is just a part of the Mountain-to-Sea trail on which the volunteers worked for three days. Armed with clippers and pruning shears they were commissioned to clear a small portion of the 1,000 mile trail that winds it's way from the mountains of North Carolina to the Outer Banks.       
      "Leading FAB taught us all the details about how to plan an Alternative Break, but it was completely worth it when we saw how well the group worked together to achieve the goals we had set from the beginning," Conely and Pennell said.  "It gave us confidence to have a successful upcoming Spring Break."
Jared Wilson, the fearless mentor for the FAB Coordinators
            "We were all quiet on the way there," Fernanda Agnes said about the nine hour trip through the hills of Kentucky and Tennesse. But she said it didn't take long for the team to warm up to each other as they heated water over the campfire for mochas. 
Fernanda, Kim and Julia
       When the team wasn't working on the trail, they were eating their meals in picturesque places or layering on clothes to protect themselves from the surprisingly chilly evening temperatures.
The FAB group relaxing on the rocks.
      The menu of the weekend took a surprising twist when people decided to invent new food combinations. Everything from bologna and peanut butter sandwiches to banana s'mores were created. Apparently, they were good too.  
       Apart from fun food experiments, Conley and Pennell agreed that enjoying the mountain scenery was the most memorable.
     "The best moment was when we worked hard on the last day, and when we finished we hiked up to the top of Rough Ridge and were blown away by a breath taking view of the Autumn trees."
     The group was glad to hear that their efforts could be a jump-start for the small town economies within the area, as tourists would begin to use the trail more often.  Residents of the area were grateful, and the students were happy to be of service.

      Conley and Pennell both are looking forward to the Spring Alternative Break trips, and they agree that it is a "great break from the busy life of a college student."
Back Row: Fernanda, Kim, Taylor, Jillian, Jarod, Chad
Front Row: Kailey, Julia, Kayla, Jose, Xiaowei

Monday, October 24, 2011

News Worthy: Creating a Community

An article from the Chicago Tribue recently shared the story of drug addicts coming clean and attending college. The battle they face they don't face alone.  Read portions of the article to see how this college community supported each other. 
To read the full article, click here.

Portions of the article are listed below:

Mark Spicer started smoking marijuana eight years ago when he was a sophomore at New Trier High School. By senior year, the dabbling had turned into a daily habit; at his small, liberal arts college, he added painkillers to the list. Despite multiple attempts at rehab, it took just a few weeks before he'd return to his hard-partying ways.

"About the only thing to do is go to frat parties, otherwise you don't have much of a social life … and alcohol and drugs are everywhere," said Spicer, 23, of Glencoe.

Now, the philosophy/environmental studies major is back in school, maintaining a 3.8 grade-point average and his sobriety. He's at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, a choice made not only for the academics but for its vibrant recovery community of 83 peers, all fighting the same battle.

Across the U.S., universities are paying closer attention to students like Spicer. Almost two dozen schools now have comprehensive recovery programs for those battling addictions.

Senior Mark Spicer, 23, of Glencoe, plays his guitar in a drug-free dorm at Augsburg College in Minneapolis this month. (Courtney Perry, Photo for the Chicago Tribune / October 17, 2011)

"This is their choice … and a lot of students are here on their own dime," said the program's director, Patrice Salmeri. "They found out what it's like to sit in jail, to be homeless, to be cut off by their parents. Some say they shouldn't even be alive right now … but they come here and they're ready."

For Spicer, it's hard to believe he's the same student who spiraled downward, stealing from his roommates for Vicodin, Xanax and Oxycontin, which he called "my first true love." He left Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., found Augsburg, got kicked out of StepUP, but remained in Minneapolis.

"One day, I just woke up and I was really sick with a sinus infection, from snorting all these pills … and I just had enough," Spicer said. "I went back to my friends at StepUP … and I credit these three guys with saving my life."

After six months of abstinence — a program requirement — Spicer re-enrolled. Now he's a resident assistant, on track to graduate in June. But his proudest accomplishment is 21 months of sobriety, which he calls "a gift."

Augsburg is also where everything clicked for Emily, a graduate of Oak Park-River Forest High School, who lasted only three semesters at Loyola University. Now a junior, she also attributes her achievement to a caring staff and forging strong bonds with those who share a similar history.

"We all go together to clubs, to concerts, dancing … we just don't drink. When I was in Chicago, I'd be the only one not drinking and I felt weird," she said.

"A few years ago, if anyone told me that I'd be going to college and getting good grades, I'd never believe them," said the psychology major, who asked that her last name not be used.

The same goes for Ezra Kaplan, who started drinking at Glenbrook North High School. After graduating in 2006, he attended Kalamazoo College, dropping out midway through his sophomore year.

"The life I was living wasn't conducive to academics," said Kaplan, 23. "My parents knew I was lying to them, drinking and smoking a lot more pot than I was saying."

Kaplan moved back to Northbrook in 2008, went to wilderness therapy and eventually checked into treatment in Prescott, Ariz. After discharge, he stayed in the small, central Arizona town, a hub for recovering addicts with more than 200 Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings a week.

Kaplan exited rehab and moved into transitional housing, where his roommates were part of Treehouse Learning Community, a private program that requires all students to be pursuing a degree. He now works for Treehouse while at Prescott College, where he is studying to be a chemistry teacher.

"At the end of the day, I came home to a sober environment instead of a drinking one," he said. "And I could see how it made all the difference."

Monday, October 10, 2011

From the Sam Jones Family: FSS

Freshman Service Scholars 2011

In the Sam Jones Program incoming freshman, known as Freshman Service Scholars (FSS), volunteer 2 hours a week at George Washington Community High School. It's an Indianapolis school just west of campus on Washington street. 

The FSS are tutors and a mentors to these kids as they help them with homework and interact with the students in activities and games. There have been many things the FSS have enjoyed about the experience, but there are also some challenges to overcome. 

What have they enjoyed the most about volunteering at George Washington?

"I love being someone to look up to."
- Jordan Morse, Elementary Education

"Helping the students and seeing them succeed."
- Sukhjeet Gill, Business Management

"The thing I enjoyed most was
interacting with the kids and getting to know them." 
- Brandon Coots, Exercise Science 

"Helping the kids with homework." 
- Whitney Eldridge, Nursing

"I really feel satisfied when I see
the difference my presence makes.
(i.e. when I'm able to help them complete 
a H.W. assignment they're having difficulty with." 
- Kimberly, Biology

"I really like spending club time with the kids.  
It's fun to play board games and 
just talk and get to know them. 
I can't wait to build relationships this coming year!" 
- Skye Leasure, Art Education

"I enjoyed spending time and meeting the kids. 
The best part is seeing the "Aha" moment on their face 
when they understand their homework." 
- Aaron Henson, Accounting

"It's been great being able to work with kids
who I can say are very much like I was
when I was in middle school and high school."
- Christele Igega, Nursing

Freshman Service Scholars

What has been a challenge at George Washington?

"Getting the students to do their 
homework and getting them to focus."
- Sukhjeet Gill, Business Management

"the hardest part was initially breaking the ice with the kids."
- Aaron Henson, Accounting

"Getting the kids to open up."
- Whitney Eldridge, Nursing

"I haven't experienced any major challenges yet."
-Brandon Coots, Exercise Science

"Getting the kids to actually focus on the tasks at hand.
It takes creativity!"
- Christele Igega

"Getting the kids to ask for help,
rather than having to approach them.  
Also, getting the kids to stay focused; 
they have short attention-spans 
and get easily distracted."
-Kimberly, Biology

"During homework-help time it was difficult 
a few times to get the children to focus. 
I've had to threaten separating them from their friends,
and that has worked.  
In the future,
hopefully I don't have to seek
further help in keeping them focused."
- Skye Leasure, Art Education 

"Finding ways to be helpful. 
Most of the students don't do their homework, 
or don't have any. 
So I wander.
- Thomesine Watts, Anthropology

"i have a student with major disciplinary problems.  
It's a challenge for me to try and explain to him that 
getting in trouble is not good, without trying
to be just another authoritative figure."
- Jordan Morse, Elementary Education

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Awareness...

Since October is a month abounding with issues to be aware of I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post more.
Below you will find more photos of things that you may want to be aware of during October:

National Dental Hygiene Month

National Chili Month

Spinach Lovers Month

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Squirrel Awareness Month

National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

National Roller Skating Month

German-American Heritage Month

National Spina Bifida Awareness Month

National Popcorn Poppin' Month

National Go on a Field Trip Month

National "Gain the Inside Advantage" Month

This one I had to ask, what does that even mean? Basically, it is promoting awareness of the importance in strategic planning whether in business or general success.

There are always more issues to find out about on the following website:
Click Here if you're interested.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Be Aware This Month...Of What?

I was sitting in my office chair when the brilliant idea hit me. 
 I should let you know what social issues - large or small - you could be aware of this month.  When I did a google search I was hit with an overwhelming number of things we are supposed to be aware of in the month of October.
I can't even begin to list all the causes for the month of October - there's way too many - but I've listed some that made me laugh and caught my interest.

Disability Awareness Month, Nat'l
Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month
Sarcastic Awareness Month, Nat'l
Bake and Decorate Month
Stamp Collection Month, Nat'l
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Nat'l
Dyslexia Awareness Month

There are plenty more causes this month. If you are involved with any this month let us know. 
Check out other issues online