Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kristyn Crawford, Indiana University Bloomington

Kristyn Crawford, a sophomore at Indiana University – Bloomington was a participant in the weeklong Indiana Campus Compact“Your Impact on Homelessness”Alternative Break Institute in May 2011.

I believe that one person can make a change, but it takes a hundred people to make an impact.  Therefore, I want to use my organizational skills, determination as a business student, and knowledge gained from this experience to create a program that volunteers could work on to help implement a change that would fight homelessness.

In high school I thought of volunteering as working small events for the local school district; however, once I became involved in Civic Leadership Development, a community service oriented club, I began to volunteer for organizations that benefit those truly living in poverty.  Through these experiences I have become dedicated to helping others and using my abilities to really impact an organization in order to improve people’s lives.

Kristyn_Crawford_cropped_and_framedThis alternative break forced me way outside of my comfort zone. Leading up to the trip, when I told friends and family I would be staying in a homeless shelter for a week they gave me a blank stares.   Admittedly, I too was nervous about the arrangements.  But after the initial shock of sleeping, eating, and showering in the same place as the women in the shelter, staying there was unbelievably humbling and allowed us to truly make a connection with them. I was anxious about handing out dinner and talking to people who are living on the streets, thinking they would be a much rougher crowd than the women at the shelter.  However, while talking to them I realized that they have the same wants, needs, and dreams that all human beings share.   Most importantly, I have become less judgmental.  I am now very socially aware and fired up about helping fight homelessness in my community.  I would definitely encourage other students to go on an Indiana Campus Compact ABI statewide trip. It is an amazing way to meet people from around the state and share in a memorable and meaningful experience.

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Indiana Campus Compact is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for significant funding in support of programs, training,and resources for our member campuses that allow them to deepen their commitment to community engagement and service-learning.