What Students Are Saying

“I arrived at the center with a preconceived notion that the women in the facility would all be ‘low class’ kind of  ‘losers’, who merely wanted cheap rent and free daycare. I am now so ashamed of my thoughts. Domestic violence is blind to race, social class, religion, and income. Women from all sorts of lives vacate those halls.” (Female student volunteer at the Marjaree Mason Center)
“When my frustration left, I felt nauseated. These children weren’t as well kept as my child. I was given diapers, but no wipes. Their noses were running, but I had no tissues. When they were thirsty, I could find no cups. Their toys and furniture were dirty. The rooms they shared with their mothers were no bigger than a dorm room, and their playroom was the same size. They had nowhere to play outside, and the view out their windows is not much of a view at all. My eyes were opened to how well my family had it. Now when I think my son Noah needs another toy, I remind myself that he has something these children lack, two loving parents, security, stability, green grass to frolic on and a nice view, not just outside his window, but also for his future. The next day I returned, bought the children coloring books, crayons, Candyland, and some snacks. Their faces lit up. I realized with my own child, that gifts don’t have to be expensive to be enjoyed. At this point, I was past the notion that everyone lived as I did and I was able to look past their economic status and let go of some of y fears and judgments. I realized that they aren’t much different from my son, show them a little love and they will give you much more in return.” (Anonymous, on volunteering at Women to Women)
“Sheltered is a good way to describe my childhood. I grew up in a white middle-class family. My mother harbors many fears of other races… I decided at a young age that prejudice is just a sign of ignorance, and that I would not let this dictate my life, but I still held on to a fear of the unknown, the “other races.” Along with fulfilling this assignment, I decided to face my fears, so I volunteered at Women to Women.” (Anonymous, on volunteering at Women to Women)
“As our textbook says… ‘Youngsters who are supported in mourning at those time when they feel moved to do so are more likely to make their way though grief.’ I was trying to help Timmy get through the crisis that he experienced. I want to make him a stronger person.” (Student on her experience with an elementary school student who had recently lost his parents)
“This experience made the class real for me… I think that in the future, more classes at CSUF should require a service-learning project such as this one… These service-learning projects allow us as students to help the community and gain deeper understanding regarding the content of this course.” (Female student on taking a service learning class/volunteering at Stone Soup)
“In order to learn, someone has to be taught. In order to be taught, someone has to care enough to teach. This is what volunteers are doing. With their actions, they are telling children that they are important, they are cared for, and they are worth imparting knowledge to. One can only imagine how far reaching that will be in their futures.” (Female student's reaction to CFS 133)
“The interaction with these children gave me some challenges and it gave me the confidence that I needed to continue with my goals of helping children. I now realize how important it is to perform these types of services.” (Female Student)
“As a social work major, it was a great experience at Boys and Girls Club working with children and teens who present obstacles in their lives, and it allowed me to receive a head start in thinking how I am going to help in the future.” (Latina in her mid 20s)
“My experience at the Boys and Girls Club was different than I expected, as I did not realize how the exposure to an environment that I normally would not have been associated with would affect me.  I have enjoyed every minute of this experience, and I plan to continue volunteering at this site in the future. … This experience will help me deal with similar environments and has taught me that preconceptions can only be proven if you allow them to be.” (Caucasian female in her 20s; Criminology major)
“The most important aspect of my service-learning experience was realizing the extent of the problem in Fresno.  I have read about and seen poverty, but to stare at it, to see it in other individuals is different.  I grew up poor, but I do not remember ever skipping a meal or being homeless.  I know about the homeless problem in the United States, but being close up and personal at Poverello House is something else.  I cannot put words to my feelings while I am at Poverello House.  It is a sense of compassion and empathy for them.  Their faces are what has touched me the most.”   (Latina in her 20s; Criminology major)
“Volunteering and working with Direction Sports brought me a new perspective. Understanding just how important immigration is and the benefits that it brings to our society is probably the most valuable lesson that I learned from this program. A quote that stands out from our reading this year was by Patrick Buchanan who stated, " . . . immigration is a challenge to our cultural integrity, our national identity, and potentially to our future as a country.”   A quote that, before the semester, I would have probably agreed with; however, my experience with Direction Sports had a dramatic influence concerning my fundamental beliefs on immigration. Working with the Hmong and Mexican kids I came to understand that in reality immigration benefits the United States as a whole. The children in this program were beyond amazing; they were respectful, kind and good-hearted—all traits that contribute to a civil society.”  (Caucasian male in his mid 20s)