Active Citizens Conference at William and Mary

The Active Citizens Conference was a wonderful learning experience where I was encouraged to think critically about service and help diagnose some of the most pressing issue surrounding service and the community.  The theme of the conference was Educating, Uniting & Inspiring Active Citizens and I have to say they accomplished all of those goals. I attended several workshops educating me on the pros and cons of service and emphasizing the thoughtfulness required to serve effectively. If you march into a project with good intentions but do not make sure you are spending resources wisely and research the effects of what is happening good intentions turn bad very quickly.

The keynote speaker Gemma Bulos inspired me to strive for my goals no matter what adversity I faced. Her story of traveling the world with a song and a goal to create a million voices choir inspired me. The idea behind her million voices choir was that one person is just a drop in the water, but it only takes one drop to make a ripple. Her song became about getting clean water to all the dry and desperate areas of the world.  Even though this wasn’t her intention she continued to serve the purpose. She realized she had a real passion for helping others and put herself there to meet the needs of others. I was awestruck by her determination. When I spoke to her after her presentation about it she told me what kept her going was finding hope even in defeat even in desperation.  It was very refreshing to see someone who thrived off of seeing others happy and that is why she served.

I think that while analyzing service it is easy to forget about the reason we do it. Service is for others. That is such a simple reminder but I feel it is so important to be said. Service is help to the needy. When we see the impact of our service we should be rejoicing! It is important to look at service critically and make sure it is done correctly, but let us not lose our passion and our drive that keeps us going in doing so. The reason we analyze service and make it the best it can possible be with the smallest of resource is for others. We as a service community are united to helping others. We are united to making sure we help others in a sustainable way they want to be helped.

I have much hope for the future of service and it’s ability to solve many of the issues of today and the future. It is safe to say I was educated, inspired, and am on my way to becoming an active citizen.

-Michael Galfetti

Feb. 20th, 2014

Left to Right: Kalia Harris, Macey Garner, Patrick Finney, Patricia Mathison, and Michael Galfetti

Left to Right: Kalia Harris, Macey Garner, Patrick Finney, Patricia Mathison, and Michael Galfetti following their conference presentation of The Rose that Grew from Concrete

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