Monday, January 2, 2017

Community Service Statement for Graduate Application

Here is my answer to a question on an application when I was applying to PT School.  I thought I would share my answer and experience, you can even use this as a template if you have a similar experience!

Describe one community or human service activity you participated in as an undergraduate student and how this activity contributed to your personal development.

            During the spring semester of my freshman year, one of my exercise science classes required us to volunteer for a school sporting event. Any event could be chosen, with jobs of set up, clean up, running scoreboard, in game events and so on. Instead of choosing a random sporting event just to earn an assignment grade, I choose to volunteer for the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament held at the school gym.  For starters, I helped set up the hospitality room where fans, parents, and athletes could leave their belongings, grab a snack or drink.
            Since there are only two basketball courts at the University of Indianapolis, a tournament is an all day activity with a lot of downtime between games for athletes. Due to this, volunteers cleared out nearby class rooms to host different activities, in order to keep individuals engaged while also helping develop social and motor skills. Examples of activities included crafts, Zumba, and Bosu Balance drills, the activity which I worked.  Teams of Special Olympics athletes would come in the room, full of life and energy, trying their best to complete tasks of balancing on one foot, catching balls, and competitions on who could balance the longest.
            This service activity contributed to my personal development more than I could have anticipated prior to volunteering for it. Originally I thought it was just a positive change to help out a good cause instead of doing mundane tasks for common sporting events.  However, the more I got to interact with these individuals with motor and intellectual disabilities (interaction I had never been exposed to living in a small town with a graduating high school class of 100) the more they touched me on an emotional level. I realized the true importance of the Special Olympics in that it gives people with intellectual and motor disabilities an avenue to express their fitness, participate in sport which unites people from all walks of life, and teaches them many life lessons.
            This volunteer experience opened my eyes to the fact that every single person on this planet deserves attention, development and care for their mechanical inefficiencies. Not just those who are injured, not just people who can afford it, rather every person who needs it and is willing to make the effort to improve themselves. The Special Olympics is a life changer for myself, and individuals with disabilities to help develop their fitness, motor and social skills to give them the same opportunities as other populations. Contributing, first hand, with my balance and mobility Bosu activity I was able to interact with amazing people while being able to help develop their balance and motor skills that will help them even after they leave the gym. The next year before I transferred schools, I volunteered again with the Bosu activity, not for a letter grade, but this time to show my commitment to individuals committed to making positive changes in their lives.

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