Memoirs of an E-Boarder: Community Outreach
When I was installed as the 2016 Director of Community Outreach, the director before me, Kea, gave me a ceremonial clipboard that read “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” –Mahatma Gandhi. Words have never been so important to me and reflective of my Helenes journey.
I found myself in Helenes. I truly found a place where I felt like I belonged. And not where I simply “fit in”. Helenes is a community of women, all of whom are inspirational and beautiful in their own way. I never knew I could feel so much love and acceptance. I was in awe of the people I served alongside and truly found myself swept up in the service opportunities I participated in during my rosebud semester.
When it came to nomination time for e-board, I knew I wanted to be Director of Community Outreach. There is nothing I love more than service, and no group I love more than the USC Helenes. It wasn’t hard for me to decide – I wanted to do more for an organization that had done so much for me, and I wanted to make the community outreach events even better, so that every Helene could find meaning and passion in service.
My job is mainly working with nonprofits in Los Angeles and other service organizations on campus. I field lots of emails and research opportunities in the area, trying to schedule events that Helenes will both enjoy and make an impact. I plan events like LA Food Bank, seek out cool new service with orgs like Share a Meal and Kicks for Kids, partner with the Trojan Knights’ events like Pumpkin Carving and Eggstravaganza, and continue to develop our relationships with our official philanthropy, DWC, and 32nd Street School.
I would say the most challenging aspect of my position is that there always feels like there’s so much to do. This is partially due to the amount of service opportunities Helenes have, but also because of something much greater than Helenes. It’s difficult to see real change or perceive what we’re doing to help. We do so much, but sometimes it feels like so little when I start to think big picture on really relevant issues. But we do know this, deep down. We cannot house, clothe, and feed every person who is homeless, but we can provide a warm meal. And maybe someday a Helene will be part of the greater solution to improving policy concerning the homeless population. That’s what keeps me going.
My position kept me very busy and very involved. There are at least four community outreach events a week, and there are always new things in the works behind the scenes. Shout out to my chairs this semester: Raina, Simran, Sasha, and Alexa, for taking on some of these responsibilities and being community outreach CHAMPIONS! Something great about my position is there’s a really nice balance between structure and creativity. There’s some events we pretty much always do, but there’s always so much more room for growth and new ways to help our community. Although my time as director of community outreach is almost over, there is still so much I’d love to see the next person add or switch up.
It’s so much fun to be in this position because Helenes are incredible at serving their communities. Every Helene has a heart for service and a genuine patience and compassion for the people we serve. Helenes are so willing to jump right in and help.
Being on e-board has been everything to me. I still get a little jolt of excitement when I see a new email in my Helenes inbox, announce a new event at meeting, or talk about Helenes to an unsuspecting stranger that asks me what “Helen-es” is. I still think back to over a year ago when I attended LA Food Bank as a prospective and knew in my heart that Helenes was the home I had been searching for. Not only that, but e-board has gifted me with talented, inspiring friends that I truly love and appreciate.
Being Director of Community Outreach has been an absolute honor. Being part of the 2016 E-Board has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Even though I just wrote a 750 word blog post, I still don’t feel as though enough words can truly capture the love I feel for Helenes and how wonderful it has been to be Director of Community Outreach.
Helenes love and all of mine,