Community Service Spotlight with Karen Grygiel

Aug. 12, 2008

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A native of Brick, N.J., and a rising senior on the bowling team, Grygiel works with the Boys & Girls Club and is the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

In general, what type of community service work do you do with the Boys & Girls Club and SAAC?

I volunteer at the Boys & Girls Clubs for Commit To Be Fit, an after-school program that teaches children about nutrition and health. With SAAC, I coordinate community service activities with student-athletes and the local Nashville community. For example, we hold book drives, collections for supplies for U.S. soldiers, donations to Mending Hearts and participate in other student-service activities on campus.

Why is it important for you to do community service?

Community service is important to me because it allows me to meet the members of my community and give back to them. It teaches me to be appreciative of all the opportunities I have been given and especially helps me encourage youth to never give up on their dreams. It also creates social capital within a community and opportunities for success by working together.

How much does community service make you realize how fortunate you are?

A lot. Doing community service really helps me realize how many great opportunities I have been given and that it is important to return the favor.

Explain the feeling you have when you are doing community service.

I get an amazing feeling of warmth and joy when doing community service. There is nothing like making other people smile. It also feels good to know that I can make a difference in someone's life, but it works both ways because at the same time, the people I am helping often help me and make a difference in my life, as well.

What was the first type of community service you got involved with?

The first type of community service I got involved with was with the American Cancer Society. When I was five I got involved with a program called Daffodil Days and helped raise money for cancer research. I also volunteered at my local bowling alley back in New Jersey and coached younger children in bowling. Ever since I was five, I have volunteered in my community. My parents got me started young, and I have continued doing community service ever since.



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