We Got This

Janna Carlson | Brevard, NC

Volunteering is important here at Mountain Sun. For our children, it’s a way to serve the community and get a chance to make an impact on the world around us. Starting from the beginning, we all encourage students to look beyond themselves and see how they can help others in class and at home. As Owls and Otters become Acorns they start a more formal process of community service called Service Learning that continues through their years here at Mountain Sun. The student and their family make a plan, coordinate dates, execute the student’s S.L.P., and then reflect on the whole process. This time of reflection is what changes volunteers into active learners.

Lives and communities can be changed with the right intention and a good idea made real. The intention to make a difference is the first step to creating your own Service Learning Project. Next, you need to the idea and a backup or two because being prepared means knowing somethings do not work out like you think they will. Ideas are beautiful but making them a reality can be a messy process. This is where you learn what resources are needed and if they can be made available. Now all the lost strings are tied down and it is time for the action. To me, the most stressful but most exciting part is seeing what happens when your brain-child is given life. Okay, you could end there, but what is learned? Here is where you are given the opportunity to reflect on what your time and hard work can achieve. This is the part of the process where the intention to learn is seen. You are more than a participant, you are learning to be a decision-making, problem-solving, and compassionate community member.

We Got This Bike Path Cleanup was the first community service project I have planned since college. I felt a little out of practice, but now I am hooked. I tried to be very intentional with this event. I started with my goals;

  • easy to achieve for me and others
  • including members of both Mountain Sun and the larger community
  • an action that got people outside.

These led to the idea of picking up trash on the bike path, which I use four to five days a week to get to work, and most days to get into Pisgah National Forest after work. Taking care of this resource is another way to show pride and ensure its continued access. I hope actions like this can help encourage others to use the path and maybe lead to more paths like this connecting us to other communities. How powerful one little action can be if it is done with intention. May the ripples go far and move mountains. The response and turn out was amazing. I am so thankful for this community, and I look forward to continuing the We Got This event.

Look out this fall for the next We Got This event. I am starting with the same goals as before and looking forward to making something fun happen in the next few months.

If you are interested in additional volunteer opportunities, Free Rein is a local therapeutic program that helps people increase flexibility, balance, and coordination, enhance gross and fine motor skills, and improve posture and self-confidence by riding and interacting with horses. This is my second year volunteering my Thursday afternoons with this program. They can always use volunteers for lessons or do the things I do like feeding, cleaning, and grooming. If you are interested go to their website at freereincenter.com.

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