Friday October 20, 2017

Beyond UD: What Will You Bring to the World?

By Miranda Melone '17

Warm greetings from Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop in San Francisco. I just paid for my $3.25 drink with three singles, one dime, two nickels, and five pennies, to avoid breaking one of my two remaining twenties for the month. If I’m going to sit here writing, I should buy something.

Prior to graduation, I decided on a year of service for many reasons, one of them being that I don’t know what to do with my life yet. Who does, right? I’m still young, so why not throw caution to the wind, move across the country to a place I have never been, move in with people I have never met, live on a small stipend in one of the most expensive cities, and work in a field I have no experience with? When I put it that way, it does look scary, but leaps of faith can pay off. So, I found Mercy Volunteer Corps at the Beyond UD Fair.

I hesitate to call this a “year of service.” To me, this language invites division, implying that there is a primary service provider (me) and a service recipient (them). Instead, I call it a year of relationship.

My job placement is at Mercy Retirement and Care Center. In the mornings, I help coordinate over 500 senior volunteers who deliver fresh food to 1,500 low-income seniors. In the afternoons, I work in assisted living, the care center, and Oasis– the memory care floor. In just one day I will find myself sorting out rotten tomatoes, teaching a senior volunteer how to use a computer system, stuffing grocery bags, updating a website, playing scrabble, making copies, giving hand massages, and participating in sing-a-longs. All of these tasks and the many more that I do are all just different expressions of love, and I am happy doing all of them (even throwing out rotten tomatoes). Although I might not feel like it, I am still happy to do it because this year is about giving myself and saying yes, just as Mary did.

By the way, Sacred Grounds makes a pretty good apple cider.

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