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William Rosenthal COMM 4688 October 31, 2011 Project Paper I chose to take part in a project on campus with Kyra Tarbell, who is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the University of Colorado Denver. My project was in conjunction with a tour of the Auraria Campus. The project itself was titled Give, Look, and Play. This project was a file folders game project that benefited the Latter Day Saints (LDS), a relief organization that looks to help kids and adults alike. What this project was specifically about was cutting out various patterns such as flowers or faces and coloring them in colors and designs that did not infer any meanings other then the mathematical educational intent behind them, as the idea of completing these games is to educate children through these tools, free from undue influence, such as coloring the items red, white, and blue. Being a senior, I had the opportunity to engage freshman and other seniors who were present for the tour and the project. Everyone I spoke to wanted to feel like they were doing something constructive with their time and give to other people who are less fortunate then we are. In talking to the freshman, I found the conversation to be beneficial to me personally, as not only am I an older student who has returned to school, but I am also quite a bit older then a freshman. Their perspective was what I would expect for the most part from a recent high school graduate. The fact that they were eager and hands on in undertaking the project was impressive and not what I expected to encounter, as my encounters with this particular age group are made up of me mostly feeling old, as I feel the majority of these students are more into playing video games and partying, not focused or interested in donating their time


and efforts to those less fortunate. Overall, I feel that the project I was a part of went well and it was an enjoyable situation in which I understood the purpose of the project, which made me feel it was a worthwhile investment of time. My role in this project was to be available to all participating students to answer questions about the project and hand out the necessary materials for the project in addition to taking a hands-on role in completing the project as well. I was there from the set-up phase to the breaking down phase of the project, in which we served a light breakfast to all the participants. I also researched the beneficiary of our project to understand exactly how our completion of this project would be of benefit to the LDS and the causes they support. I created a flier for the event and I also distributed the flier throughout the campus, such as the Communications Department, the Tivoli, Plaza, and the Advising Office. I had the event posted on the Facebook page of the University of Colorado Denver Communications Department. I also branded the event with Give/Look/Play. This project made me want to take a deeper look at relief organizations. There are quite a few relief organizations, each serving as a valuable asset in assisting those who need help, whether it is a third world country or an established country such as the United States. In examining relief organizations, the first that comes to mind is the one I assisted, The Latter Day Saints. The LDS has many humanitarian relief and development projects throughout the world. In 2010 alone, they assisted 43 countries to include the United States in distributing over 800,000 kits that included but were not limited to educational material as well as hygiene kits. They also sent various children’s kits, clothing, and medical modules. All donations that go to LDS are sent to the poor and disadvantaged. LDS has supported vaccination programs as well. Since 2003, 59,000 volunteers have assisted in 35


countries lowering the deadliness of measles by 78% in Africa alone. The LDS has also provided food production training to include teaching people how to make food at home, store and prepare food properly, and teach nutrition. Since 2002, the LDS has helped 40,000 people. One of the biggest resources that everyone on the planet needs for survival is water. The LDS has assisted communities in ensuring they have clean water. LDS assists communities to create wells and other drinking water systems to provide access to clean water. The Church also assists communities establish local water committees and provide hygiene training for families. The community donates labor and materials. Over 7.5 million people now have access to clean water because of Church efforts from 2002 through 2010. The LDS clearly wants to make a difference, and worldwide, they have made a difference with all their various programs to assist those in need near and far. For many, the American Red Cross (AMR) is the first relief organization that comes to mind when it comes to identifying relief organizations. The AMR dates back to 1881. The AMR is known world-wide for providing neutral humanitarian care for war victims as well as coming to the aid of natural disaster victims as well. The ultimate goal for the AMR is to prevent and relieve suffering. The AMR presently focuses on community services for the needy, support and comfort for military members and families, collection of blood and blood products, educational programs that focus on health and safety, and international relief and development programs. There are approximately 35,000 employees of the AMR and with 700 chapters supported locally, more then 15 million people acquire skills they need to help prepare in addition to responding to emergencies domestically and internationally. For every dollar that the AMR spends, 91 cents is invested in humanitarian services and programs. Like most relief organizations, these are not government agencies. They survive through donations of time, money, and blood to complete their mission. I can personally speak to the benefit of the AMR,


as when I was a member of the United States Air Force, I was notified through the AMR that my grandmother died. They assisted me in getting home through an emergency loan for airfare. The International Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is another relief organization that comes to the aid of children and adults alike, both domestically and internationally. They are the world’s largest humanitarian and development network, boasting millions of volunteers in over 150 National Societies. The IFRC is focused to tackle the major humanitarian and developmental challenges of the decade, with focus on disaster response and recovery, development, and promoting social inclusion and peace. Disaster response and recovery is important, as there has been an increase in natural disasters both in number and in complexity of handling them. By linking humanitarian response and disaster preparedness to risk reduction, not only our lives saved, but it becomes more cost effective in handling natural disasters. IFRC volunteers also live within the communities that they service when natural disasters strike and in many cases are first responders. The IFRC volunteers are in many cases the best source of comfort for those who are affected by the impact of natural disasters, as the volunteers are also victims of the same disaster. The second area of focus, development is where IFRC is also quite active, as they are involved in a highly extensive HIV/AIDS program, food security, water, and sanitation. They deliver programs that address the humanitarian consequences of climate change, violence, and regular and irregular migration. The IFRC works very closely with communities to support their capacity building, which is important especially with the limited amount of resources many of these countries impacted by natural disaster(s) have. The third and final area of focus for the IFRC is promoting inclusion and peace. They support the integration of disadvantaged people within their own communities. The volunteering and youth networks take part in a cross-generational dialogue that attempts to overcome the gap between religion and culture, challenging discrimination wherever it is encountered. This aspect, in my opinion, is one of the most important things the IFRC does, as I feel that we really do not know a lot about other people who are in this world or we do not choose to take the time to get to


know other people. There is so much incivility and indifference when it comes to others, especially when it comes to embracing and accepting the difference(s) that we all have no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, or circumstances in life that may leave us in need of a helping hand, whether that person is a child or an adult. Another relief organization that is world-renowned is the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has a wide array of programs and assists in helping those communities or countries that have incurred a natural disaster. Some of the programs that the Red Cross takes part in are programs that look to prevent human smuggling, natural disaster relief, youth camps, as well as housing and homelessness. In one of the more interesting aspects about the Salvation Army is that they accept airline miles for donations in helping with their various causes and programs. In the United States, as of 2010, Americans living in poverty rose to 46.2 million, which is a shade over 15 percent. Being in the communities throughout the United States, The Salvation Army has witnessed this increased need first-hand throughout the nation. Of the food programs that the Salvation Army operates, 94 percent saw an increase in demand for food assistance in 2010. In addition, approximately 60 percent of Salvation Army programs saw donations remain flat or decrease from all funding sources, including government, public and private sectors. One Salvation Army in Auburn, California has stated it may have to start turning those in need away if its resources continue to decline. In closing, I learned quite a bit about myself as well as the various relief organizations that exists to help kids and parents alike. For me, I initially thought my service project was not one that was really significant, as it did not seem I was truly doing something that had a big impact. The moment I began looking into the organization I was helping in addition to the research that I undertook examining the other relief organizations that do help people domestically and internationally, I realized that this perception would be underestimating the impact that these projects have not only for someone who partakes in the project(s), but also the


recipient of the end product. I might not be able to physically see the end result of my project once it was completed, but I understand that my project has an impact that goes beyond just doing “arts and crafts�, as it helps a child learn basic educational skills that I have taken for granted all my life. This project also made me realize that there is a need for people and corporations to take the time out to help others who are less fortunate or who have suffered as a result of natural disasters. The bigger the project does not always mean that it has the most impact. Feeling that way prevents us in truly serving our fellow citizens, as our time is just as valuable a resource as our monetary donation(s). If everyone took 1 hour a week to give back something to those who are less fortunate, it would not only impact the cause you choose to support, but it would bring about a new understanding and civility that we would have towards our fellow man, especially in a world in which civility towards one another is something that is lacking in our society. For students such as myself, it is imperative to not only learn about service learning, but also learning what service means by actually taking part in a service project. This enables us to become aware of the world around us, not just the world we specifically live in. To be a good citizen is more then just paying your taxes or not committing any crimes. It is recognizing that you understand that you are fortunate to be in a position to help others who unfortunately can not help themselves. It is understanding that you cannot wait for someone else to make a difference, as if everyone waited for someone else to make a difference, there would be no one making a difference because we are waiting for someone else to take the lead. You have to take the time to make a difference and be a leader. No one is going to make a difference for you. By not trying to make a difference, you will never know the impact you could have made. References


American Red Cross. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. <http://www.redcross.org/>. IFRC.org - IFRC. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. <http://www.ifrc.org/>. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. <http://lds.org/?lang=eng>. The Salvation Army: Home. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. <http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf>.

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Service Project Paper