Service-Learning Student Success Stories
I thought I wanted to major in Forensic Psychology, but I changed my mind after volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Activity Center in San Jose. I have now decided to major in Clinical Psychology, and would really love to work with patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
When my professor told our class that we had the option of doing Service-Learning or writing essays for the Final, I chose Service-Learning. At first I wanted to work in the area of my major, but when I saw that I could volunteer at the Alzheimer’s Activity Center something in me told me to try it. The first day I walked into the Center, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I will not lie; the first day was an overwhelming experience. When I finished my hours that day, I walked to my car, sat there with tears coming down my eyes and contemplated my own life. Every day we seem to take the smallest things we have in life for granted. We become mad because we don’t have the latest things in fashion or electronics. I realized how blessed I am to have a healthy mind; that my parents have a healthy mind; that I don’t need to see my parents’ mental health deteriorate in front of me and not be able to do anything about it. I can only imagine the pain the children, grandchildren, wives or husbands of the clients of the Alzheimer’s Center go through.
Every time I walk into the Alzheimer’s Center I make a new grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, ma, and pa. The clients have become part of my family and it brings me joy that I’m able to make them laugh and smile while I am there. Not only do I teach them small things, but also they have taught me so much more about life. I can put a fancy quote about why Service-Learning is so important, but I don’t feel that would capture the essence of Service-Learning. Speaking from my heart, Service-Learning should be experienced by everyone. Not only will it help you know if your major is right for you, but it will be an ever changing life experience, just like it was for me.
President’s Volunteer Awards: 2011 Gold, 2012 Silver,2012 Gold Medals
623.5 Volunteer hours
I immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in August 2011. At first, my primary purpose for volunteering was to learn English. However, in time, I have learned that volunteering makes everyone’s life better because basically we all have strengths and weaknesses and something to give each other.
For example, when I volunteered in a Basic Computer Class for Parents, I spent months teaching parents how turn a computer on/off to listen to music and watch movies for entertainment. On the other hand, those parents gave me happiness of doing a meaningful job. I have volunteered as a math tutor for FasTrack, EVC Math and Science Resource Center, and Yerba Buena High School, and on Citizenship Days at SIREN informing people about Deferred Action, and how to become a U.S. Citizen. But Service-Learning has also helped me, in 2011 I was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award which led me to win the Aspire scholarship. In 2013, I honorably received the second President’s Volunteer Service Award, which I definitely added to my applications to Universities of California and California State Universities. I hope that I will get accepted to a good university to study bioengineering in April 2014.