Radiating Sunshine: October 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

EJS Service Day

 This past Saturday, some Mount St. Mary's U students (organization: Educators for Justice Society) and I participated in serving the Pen Lucy Action Network's Power in Dirt program. We teamed up with the Ember Cast and Serve the City  for the day, and together made a difference!

We left the mount at 7:20am for our drive into Baltimore. On our way down we noticed that we were only three minutes from the destination site, but we were surrounded by well-landscaped mansions and nice cars. It felt like within a blink of the eye the town's demographics went from rich to poor in a moment.

EJS Team
It was almost unreal how drastic the change was and at the same time I couldn't help but feel angry about it.
There are people in their stone houses and perfectly kept lawns living less than a mile from a community that is in need of some outreach and compassion. But, I channeled my emotions into the project at hand.

So what did we do? There are nearly 30,000 abandoned properties in Baltimore City (Facts). We worked with Power in Dirt and helped the beginning stages of transforming an unused lot into a pretty park.

STC, Ember, and EJS 
We cleared up excess dirt, picked up trash, raked leaves, dug up concrete--all to prepare to build a fence around the lot. The main rep from Power in Dirt explained that when he first started working on the lot the grass was out of control, their was a lot of trash, and they had to clear a couple tons of dead tree from the back of the lot. Talk about a drastic change in appearance!

We also drilled the holes, leveled and put up the fence, and mowed the lawn. The lot started looking more and more complete as the day went on. It was very rewarding seeing the fence completed at the end of the day.

But, before we left to go back to The Mount we walked 2 blocks to a local park. We checked out the local neighborhood and made some observations on our way. For me, this was probably the best part of the day. I love to look around at the environment and see what community I'm serving. We then had a really great discussion about the day and how we felt about the work we did. It was nice hearing from my fellow members and other volunteers on their thoughts about the project!

Overall, this was probably one of the best Saturdays I have had in awhile! I can't wait to see what the park looks like when its finished!

Please, keep the Pen Lucy Community and Power in Dirt in your prayers 
as they finish the park. 

Thanks STC and Ember Cast for giving MSM's EJS 
a great opportunity to make a difference.

- Alex  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nika What????

Early this week one of my Educators for Justice Society members, Lauren educated the Mount about a water product called Nika... an eco-friendly product that goes to a good cause! 

So what is it? "Nika is eco-responsible and donates 100% of its profits to poverty alleviation." For the Spring/Summer 2012 Nika partnered with Jedidiah Clothing, a humanitarian-based fashion company. Both organizations' sales (Nika's water/other products and Jedidiah's clothing line for Spring/Summer 2012- Nika-inspired) will be used to support clean water, sanitation, and education projects that give critical assistance to help thousands of families improve their life! 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 million people die each year from PREVENTABLE, water-borne diseases. Can you believe that? 3 million people's lives are wasted each year because of something that can be prevented! 

Nika helps out in other ways than just supporting clean water... For every 98 bottles made they plant a tree which makes them carbon neutral and all their bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic. 

Please visit nikawater.org for more information! This is a great cause and maybe it was just me but the water tasted so much better knowing that it was going to help a good cause!! :) 

Thanks, Lauren for opening our eyes to new ideas and ways to give back to the world!!

- Alex  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Warm and Fuzzy Program

At this point in the semester, most students are drowning in homework/exams and battling procrastination. We have a little under a month till Thanksgiving Break, and in between now and then there are papers, exams, quizzes etc to focus on. 

So I thought it would be a good point in the semester, to have a hall program that made my residents happy and inspired or warm and fuzzy.

The original design of the program was to do affirmations amongst my residents, but living on a floor with 45 other girls I thought that would be kind of hard to facilitate. So I decided on cutting out di-cut suns in a bunch of different colors. 

Each color means something different: 
Lavender- Something you're looking forward too. 
Pale Pink- 1 Nice thing about yourself
Pink- Someone/something you love
Yellow- Someone who inspires you
Gold- Something that makes you happy
Blue- Your favorite quote

The Supplies

My favorite quote (as of right now)

So, how it works: The resident picks a couple of suns that are all different colors. Then I explained what each color meant and they wrote their responses on the suns. Then, we went around in a circle and said what we wrote.

After, my residents left I tied all the suns together using ribbon and then posted it above the handprint bulletin board we made at our first Hall program.
I think this program went really well! It was nice to write uplifting things and I had a pretty good outcome of residents who came. 

The bunting of all the suns also came out really well! And now all my residents can see it and find which ones are theirs. 

Are you having a bad day? Need a boost of happiness? Well try this exercise out! Fill out the 6 questions and when you're done, hopefully you feel better than before you started.  

- Alex  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Healthy Ramen? Impossible

College students are all too familiar with the concept of instant food. Ramen is the famous culprit for why most students gain the Freshmen 15, and who's to blame them. Ramen is easy to make and its tasty... but not so 'tasty' for your health. I try to avoid eating those instant and processed meals, but occasionally I'll give into the oh-so-quick easy-mac. 

I stumbled across this really cool and somewhat healthy way to cook Ramen while I was visiting my boyfriend at his University a couple of weekends ago. One of his friend introduced him to this idea a little while back and this is his new favorite way to dine on a low budget and in a short time frame. 

I kept having to snag a couple bites even though
he had already made me a panini! 

What he did: 

1) He started out with a standard package of beef ramen.
2) Followed the cooking instructions. (I would add only half the packet of artificial flavoring to cut down on the sodium intake) 
3) Cracked an egg into the boiling water. The boiling water cooked the egg and definitely adds some protein to such a starchy meal. You could also add some veggies if you had any at your dorm/apartment. 

I had never even thought of putting anything else in my Ramen before and I wish I would have heard of it sooner! Combining different veggies and or spices would definitely add some different flavors to the boring meal and would give a good source of protein. 

Thanks, Chad for sharing. 

- Alex  

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Key is No Complaining

Early this week my friend Claire was telling me about her and her friend's experiment to making this week a happy one. What is it? Well, not *or attempt to not* to complain. It's that simple! Claire and Kaitlin made a conscious effort to not complain about school work and stress. According, to Claire who reported back to me in our Modern Civilization class today that it definitely improved her week and she does feel like it was an easy way to improve her happiness levels! 

How it works... Claire and Kaitlin made these little books (below). Every time they go to complain, instead of complaining they re-write this quote that they found in a little book made from looseleaf. This was their motto...

"The best way of removing negativity is to LAUGH 
and be JOYOUS"

Talk about some really cool inspiration! I may have to try that next week and give it a shot! I am definitely down for anyway to bring more laughter and joy into my life. 

Thanks, Claire and Kaitlin for the super fun, healthy, and cute idea!!

- Alex  
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