2011 Legacy Scholar, University of Colorado-Boulder
Prior to this trip of service in Chicago, I had always admired the individuals who gave of their time and talents with the purpose of bettering someone else’s life. I wanted to be like them but for the wrong, selfish reasons. After feeling inadequate in this regard for some time, I decided to take the leap and apply for the opportunity that only an incredible organization could provide. My background with the Elks has shown me that they are a communal group that profoundly affects the lives of many people on a national scale every day; being one of those people through scholarships, I felt I owed something to the foundation and the people they serve.
The experience was a revelation for me. I am a proud member of the Elks family and will continue my work and participation in the organization. I did not owe anyone anything other than gratitude, and I could give of myself for the sole purpose of being a better fellow human being.
The interactions with the other Elks scholars, the Elks’ employees and lodge members, and individuals and communities we served and served alongside will always stay with me in such a positive way. I often say, “It’s not where you go but who you go there with that makes the experience worthwhile.” I have never found this to be truer than with the Elks Service Trip. Lifelong friends were made, deep connections with the “other” inspired me to think differently, and I will never forget the memories.
After taking away so much from this trip, I plan to continue the Elks’ mission in my local community and global community. I am already looking forward to other service trips, hopefully again with the Elks in the future. I will also be going on a mission trip to Egypt in July of 2016. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, I will be hosting a meet and greet in August and try to increase the Elks’ presence in Boulder, CO. I will increase my own knowledge and experience with impoverished and underserved people everywhere and serve them in order to make the world a better place than I found it.
Lastly, I wish to thank the Elks and their members, employees, and scholars everywhere for the work they do to make such endeavors possible. Knowing that such amazing people exist and are willing to fight against destitution and persecution shows me this world’s potential. It is a beautiful place, and I hope that all can enjoy it someday equally.