College is about about discovering who you are and what you are passionate about, making new friends, understanding different perspectives, and experiencing new things. It’s also about maximizing your opportunities and learning to give back. Laura Alonso Restrepo, a CPCC student leader and 2014 graduate, is a testament to the importance of getting involved on campus and the positive impact it can have on your life. She shares her story below:
This past school year here at Central Piedmont Community College I have found a home and a supportive enriching environment in Service-Learning. I had the opportunity to rediscover the blessing behind giving back and lending a hand to those in need. This past year I have built relationships with several wonderful ladies who bring to light that helping hand in all of us. Through Service-Learning, just this past school year, I have been able to volunteer here in our community with several all day events such as the annual MLK challenge and American Heart Association 5k run. I have also had the opportunity to do Service-Learning through CPCC in Washington D.C with my Phi Theta Kappa international honor society officers at the 2013 Run to Remember.
Now I have the honor in being the first Central Piedmont Community College student to do international Service-Learning through the Global Learning program. In less than a week I will be on my way to Chimbote, Peru with Krystal Crowe, a Program Coordinator for Student Life, and several other students and faculty from two other community colleges from the states. Service abroad has been a dream of mine for several years and now, thanks to CPCC and the Service-Learning department, I will have the opportunity to reach out and give back to the children of Peru for two weeks after my graduation. We will be doing service with Friends of Chimbote, which supports four primary areas of competency: education, healthcare, social programs, and transformation. Some of the service projects we will be doing include building a house for a family, working in the soup kitchen and day care center, and helping in the center for women and family assistance.
Service-Learning has helped me become a stronger student and an even better community member. As a Charlotte Mecklenburg resident, Service-Learning has raised my awareness of the existence and work of organizations that provide a lending hand to people in need. It has also helped me strengthen my skills, especially my education. I have become more responsible and focused on organization and result seeking.
I could not ask for a better way to end my educational experience here at Central Piedmont Community College. Thanks to the department of Service-Learning and its beautiful minded staff I will have a life changing opportunity in the next few days. This is just the beginning of my life time service to my community here or where ever my life takes me.