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  • The University of La Verne

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    Learning Thru Community Svc (305) - CRN 1770

    When approaching this task I thought about how unexpected these particular individuals will be when I gave them these letters. They're all super incredible, noble, smart and friendly college students who have seemed to hit a bump in the road recently. I've talked to them about it, and it is the pre-graduation, pre-finals obstacles they seem to be hitting. They deserve so much support for what they've done for others and chose them specifically to remind them how great they are and how I am there for them.
    A significant moment was giving my letter to Kaitlyn, she started to tear up and immediately gave me a warm hug (she gives the best bear hugs). It was clear she needed an unexpected surprise of support during this time.
    They all responded very well. They felt writing letters was uncharacteristic of me, but they loved the child-like drawings and decor of my letters because they all know I am not artistically talented, so they all laughed at it at first, but nonetheless sincerely appreciated the letters. This assignment helped me understand that I have a role in other people's lives outside of what I think my role is. Humans really are social beings and somethings need some reliability, to rely on each other. During this hard time, it made me realize that the stress that comes with graduation and finals approaching, doesn't trump the love I have for my peers and the good time we've had and are yet to have.

    Gave 3.50 hours on 05/10/2022
    Learning Thru Community Svc (305) - CRN 1770

    When I approached this task I was decently excited because I personally enjoy history and politics. One of my first classes at the University was Dr. Brantley's U.S History (1877-Present) and we learned obscure events in history that made huge impacts on the country today. The story of Jane Addams and John Dewey is like one of those stories. I was excited to see how they revolutionized education and service learning through the readings.
    While writing this research paper I came to realize how relevant it was today. When I pieced together the role of education in the "traditional sense" of going to class, learning the major subjects of math, English, science etc. and how mundane it is to the average student. The problems and lack of understanding in society cannot be solved with these subjects off the bat. I remember going to school and thinking how pointless it was and not learning any valuable lessons. I realized it may be important for teachers to walk or cross the line of traditional teaching and approach subjects such as homelessness, gay rights, etc. in order for students to return to their communities after school more aware of their role in society. I couldn't help but think of the Don't Say Gay Bill in Florida and how it potentially deprives young students of exposure to a different community other than their own.
    This experience was reciprocal because I was able to reevaluate the role of education, exposure to other cultures and people and reciprocal service to people who are different than me. I learned to appreciate how Jane Addams and John Dewey redefined how to approach service-learning.

    Gave 4.00 hours on 05/04/2022
    The University of La Verne

    For this week I took the time to do the Rock Paint alternative project. On four rocks I painted purple and green (tried to go for Easter-like colors) I wrote encouraging notes like "YOU'RE ALMOST THERE, KEEP GOING," DON'T GVE UP." On one rock in particular I wrote "You GUAC my world" because when painted green the rock looked like avocado. I went to the Target off of Foothill in La Verne on Tuesday night and decided to leave the bigger "YOU'RE ALMOST THERE, KEEP GOING" rock facing inwards towards the store entrance/exit because it is a noticeably sized-purple rock with a message that could effect people walking out of the store. I did notice a couple of people see the rock while I was there. I gave the other two away, the ones that said "DON'T GIVE UP" and "...KEEP GOING" to two random strangers who to my surprised laughed a little and accepted the rock. I gave the purple one to an older gentleman, he looked like a dad, and he asked what he shouldn't give up on, as in he had no idea what the rock as referring to and I just told him whatever it is in life he need's help with. He said "Alright thanks man!" with a smile and kept going. I tried to give one to a man because I feel like not everyday men in our society hear encouraging things like this throughout their day or may not want to talk about their struggles but could use some encouraging advice. I gave the green one to an older lady who thought the rock was "cute" and smiled and went about her day. The avocado rock I saved specifically for a friend. A brother in my Fraternity was recently discharged from the hospital after spending 6-weeks there for West Nile Virus, which left him partially paralyzed/immobile with Jean-Berré Syndrome. He is unable to walk, uses a wheelchair and has a long road to recovery the next couple months. He has someone like me who will regularly check in and let him know to not give up on his road to recovery and to keep going because he is that type of guy who like's that advice from a friend. But he is also a guy who likes to laugh and have fun. So I gave him the avocado rock and gave I to him letting him know not to give up cuz he GUACs my world. He laughed and appreciated the rock. I felt a very good sense of helpfulness and pride giving out these rocks. To the stranges I gave rocks too, I was nervous because I didn't know if they'd accept it or not, but they were really cool and approachable people. I think despite us not knowing each other, the country is recovering from a difficult couple years and everything is still kind of messy, that getting an encouraging rock from a college student may have been totally okay with them. For my friend, it was important to let him know we were rooting for him while he was hospitalized and we are rooting for him and going to help him now that he is out. It felt good to let these people know that their lives aren't forgotten and we are in this together and there are people out there rooting for them and don't want them to give up. Because of this project I could say I am one of those people. I paused everything in my life to look at others and hopefully encourage them to keep going and not giving up.

    Gave 3.50 hours on 04/19/2022 with Learning Thru Community Svc (305) - CRN 1770
    The University of La Verne

    Aaron Arellano
    Community Service and Homelessness
    Professor Houston
    15 March 2022

    Today I volunteered at the Leo Food Pantry. This was a good experience because I was able to talk to more workers about what it means to serve at the Leo Food Pantry. In preparation for food distribution day at the end of the month, I assisted the worker, Esther, in checking and logging expiration dates for the produce as well as cleared the work area by cleaning breaking down numerous cardboard boxes from leftover produce items. At the end of it all, it was a slower day but I gained the opportunity to talk about the student food insecurity problem with some staff. One staff member described the experiences she's had serving food insecure students. Some experiences included a middle-aged undergraduate women expressing how grateful she was for getting free produce. The worker I was with shared her parent's experiences with utilizing food stamps as a single mother with three children. And now she is trying to give back by working at the Leo Food Pantry. I related to this because my mother also had a similar experience growing up. My mother, her three siblings and parents were on food stamps a majority of her childhood. My mother always shared these stories with me because my mother knows how to cook great filling meals with limited amount of food. To think these stories inspired me and others to give back to those with food insecurity is an unforgettable feeling.

    Gave 2.50 hours on 03/15/2022 with Learning Thru Community Svc (305) - CRN 1770
    The University of La Verne

    Aaron Arellano
    Learning and Community Engagement
    Professor Houston
    8 March 2022

    Today I volunteered at the Leo Food Pantry again. The hours given to me are times where they do not have workers on the clock. This time I had an extra pair of hands helping me, another volunteer named Kelly. Kelly and I were tasked with finishing labeling the expiration dates on packages of food. These items included canned beans, angel hair pasta, canned green beans, chicken soup and ramen soup. We were then tasked with stocking the shelves with these items. Afterwards, the Leo food pantry was littered with cardboard boxes, packing foam and paper and trash. Kelly and I cleaned up the place to make it clean and tidy for the workers and visitors and of course the students who come to collect their food items. Today felt very casual. It felt good being able to tidy up the place so that it can operate smoothly. One student came in briefly to collect their food items. If I could judge based off appearance, they seemed in a hurry, and did not speak much and if they did it was broken English. I could assume they were an international student. Which made me ponder the fact that I would think about international students and assume they come from wealthy families or governments, and sent here to study abroad. But this felt different. I don't think I've seen an international student in this position to retrieve food from the pantry. I thought to myself how not everyone is the same, regardless of backgrounds and assumptions, we are all different. We have different back stages than one another.

    Gave 2.50 hours on 03/08/2022 with Learning Thru Community Svc (305) - CRN 1770
    The University of La Verne

    Aaron Arellano
    Community Service and Engagement
    Professor Houston
    1 March 2022
    Reflection #2

    I was able to spend four hours at the Leo Food Pantry in the Lewis Center, on campus. I chose the Leo Food Pantry because what hits home for me is food insecurity among students. My experience here may have felt slightly underwhelming, but that is because I had just missed distribution day last week. Coming into the food pantry there is a lot of stocked food and snacks that needed a little more organization. I know that I am a volunteer here, but my contributions to this food pantry will help in the long run for the staff that works here and for the students that need this assistance. My tasks were simple but tedious. I was tasked with cutting open boxes of food and removing the lids on the boxes. This makes the food more accessible to grab during peak hours of distribution. I was also tasked with marking items with their expiration dates and making sure all older items were moved to the front and new items were to the back. Having prior experience in the food industry, I know how to tidy up a workspace. I was able to neatly arrange the food items and clean up any messes made prior or during my hours here. I did not encounter any students who came to pick up their items, mainly because these hours were not peak for them. I did however accept a wagon-full donation from the psychology honors club and was able to filter through expired items and acceptable non-persishble items. I was supposed to serve this pantry in the morning but they canceled on me at the last minute due to emergency reasons. I was able to come back, however, around 2pm and serve for this program until my shift ends at 6pm. Overall, it was a good first experience with this program. I hope to get more comfortable and and confident around here over time. Next time I come here, at the original morning hours, I will be with more staff and probably encounter more students who come in for assistance. I find my service here to be worthwhile as I know that helping the staff here at the pantry ultimately helps the students in need. It was eye-opening to see the kinds of foods people have access to here. Mostly canned and bagged goods. I pondered and asked myself what it might be like to not be able to afford groceries and having to come and make anything I can get here, work. I think the variety of food here is really good and the students/campus community have a lucky source of assistance here at the Leo Food Pantry.

    Gave 4.00 hours on 03/01/2022 with Learning Thru Community Svc (305) - CRN 1770
    FLEX & New Student Community Engagement Day (Student Sign-Ups ONLY)