I am Mackenzie Lewis, a freshman at Virginia Tech. I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina by my two parents, Jeff and Amy Lewis alongside my little sister Avery Lewis. My family has always been the biggest part of my life and has always pushed me to be the best I can be. My family did this by enforcing the importance of giving back to others and our community. Due to their constant effort to make me a better person I have now dedicated my free time to giving back in the Charlotte community and now with my Hokie family.
My service experience before Virginia Tech
Carolina's Student Hunger Drive
The Carolina's Student Hunger Drive is a competition held annually between the high schools in the Charlotte, NC area. My high school's student council worked hard to make get as many students got involved as possible. This gave everyone, who might not normally have the chance, and opportunity to give back. With hard work we were able to raise a total of almost 20,000 pounds of canned goods my junior and senior year of being on student council.
4I began my work with Special Olympics 5 years ago when I volunteered with a Special Needs sports camp called Camp SOAR (special Olympics athletic retreat). I then had the privilege of becoming a coach of a, state-gold medal winning, bocce ball team. This unique athletes are what has inspired me to use my major, Human Development, to give back to this community as an occupational therapist.
Bright Blessings is a non-profit organization that celebrates the lives of homeless children. Through Bright Blessings I have had the opportunity to make goody bags that would be delivered anonymously for the child to share with their class on their birthday, I have worked to move Bright Blessings to bigger facilities, help them give tours of the facility, organize events and even go into the homeless shelters and throw themed birthday parties for the kid to enjoy. This organization has worked hard to positively influence the lives of these homeless kids and remind them that people do care about them and are there to help them.
Blog Post #1
I'm Mackenzie Lewis and I am from Matthews, North Carolina. I am attending Virginia Tech as a Human Development major in hopes to become an Occupational or Physical therapist for people with special needs. This passion developed from the community service
I have had the opportunity to participate in all of my life.
I grew up serving in my community since I was in elementary school putting together school supplies for homeless children. From then on my passion for serving has expanded and I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing organizations such as Bright Blessings, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Special Olympics, Charlotte Good Neighbor Fund, Habitat for Humanity and many more. Having the opportunity to serve most of my life I feel has contributed tremendously to my life in many different ways, already being comfortable with reaching out with people who were different than me I was comfortable enough to take on leadership positions in my school and community. I believe my passion for service is so strong because I developed it with my family and it gave us an unbreakable bonding experience. I'm excited to begin my journey serving at Tech to create an unbreakable bond with my new extended Hokie family.
In my high school, I was actively involved with student council. Student Council frequently put on many service events, the most memorable being the Carolina's Student Hunger Drive Can Collection competition. This competition was a friendly (but very competitive) way to get high schools to donate cans to the local hungry in our Charlotte area. Overall on my time in student council we were able to raise over 23,000 pounds of canned food.
The "Other Questions"
- The benefit of doing this community work was feeding thousands of people in my community who did not know where they were getting their next meal from or how they were going to feed their family. Therefore, there is a benefit to community service.
- Institutional structures placed in my community that allowed us to host this food drive was the Carolina's Student Hunger Drive Food Bank. This food bank allowed us to connect faster and easier with other schools who were also in the competition and to get new, creative ideas in order to encourage students to bring in canned food items.
- Student Council had a few years to determine what worked and what didn't work when trying to encourage our student body to participate by bringing in cans or bring in loose change. What we did find effective was competitions between the different grade levels, such as penny wars or incentives...so the grade level who brought in the most cans that day would be able to get out of their last period 10 minutes early. What we found not effective was just asking them to bring in cans and trying to make colorful and fun advertisements- they were either ripped down or ignored.
- The most difficult part overall of the student hunger drive was knowing that we could not help more people in our community, but in the end it gives us more motivation to try even harder the next years. The most rewarding part of this experience was receiving $1000 for our school for winning 2nd place in the hunger drive- this was the most rewarding because all of that money bought cans for next years drive.
- Values are expressed through community and work because after seeing the good you did for someone you can truly reflect on the impact you made, as well as the bonds you have made throughout the process. Personally, service has definitely humbled me over the years and has made me truly thankful for what I have.
- Because of service-learning I am able to reflect on the difference I have made and I am encouraged to keep going back out to continue serving my community!