Emily Gibson ’23
It’s hard to put into words everything that Salve Service means to me, but participating in service at Salve has definitely changed me for the better. When I was touring colleges, Salve stood out to me as a university that would push me to do remarkable things and allow me to continue serving my community. At orientation, I met a really nice upperclassman who told me all about the Service Plunge and Service Advocate programs on campus. She spoke highly of both programs, and I could tell that they had such a positive impact on her time at Salve. I was eager to apply for both programs and was so excited to become a part of them the following fall semester.
Before my freshman year, I was lucky enough to attend the Service Plunge, which provides first-year students with an introduction to service through active experiences. As a freshman on the plunge, I got to volunteer at a lot of community sites in Rhode Island, including Gifts to Give, God’s Community Garden, Rhode Island’s Community Food Bank, Child and Family Services, Lucy’s Hearth, and many others. The plunge was a wonderful experience and opened my eyes to the poverty and need for service within Rhode Island. The plunge also allowed me to make new friends that share my love for community service.
After the plunge, I knew that I wanted to continue serving my community, so I was excited to become a Service Advocate at Child and Family in Middletown, RI. I volunteer in their daycare twice a week in the 12-18 months classroom. I love volunteering at Child and Family and getting to watch the babies grow up so much throughout the weeks. My favorite part of volunteering at the daycare is reading to the children and watching how happy reading makes them. I also enjoy having the opportunity to create activities to do with the children. During my freshman year, I led a yoga activity for Valentine’s day and turned regular yoga poses into Valentine’s themed poses. The children had a lot of fun, and it was an excellent activity to lead. This year, I worked with a fellow Service Advocate to create a Thankful Tree mural that we hung in the hallway outside of the daycare. It’s been difficult to foster a sense of community between the teachers, children, and parents due to the virus. Since the parents can’t come into the classrooms to pick their children up, we thought it would be nice if they could still write down what they are thankful for with their children in the hallway. The parents seemed to enjoy the mural, and I was happy to help create it.
Currently, I am getting ready to help lead the Service Plunge 2.0 in April, which will be a wonderful experience. We will be helping so many community organizations that need our help, and we are all very excited! On the plunge, we’re going to be volunteering at Norman Bird Sanctuary, God’s Community Garden, Clean Ocean Access, and more community partners! I am thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to give back to others in the past and present. I am looking forward to continuing my involvement in service at Salve and beyond.