Week 5, Day 4: Samantha Hicks at Knowledge Quest

Okay, I don’t mean to be over the top or anything but today was AMAZING! On day 4 I had the opportunity to hang out with the awesome kids and staff Knowledge Quest. Once again, being new to the area, I did not know much about the program. When I pulled up to the campus there were children running around everywhere playing and releasing energy after a long day at school. Across the street was a very large garden area where community members were working tilling the ground. There were flowers, fruits, and vegetables planted in these amazing raised garden beds. It was a sunny day and everyone, kids included, seemed to really enjoy being there.           I was given the grand tour by Andy from whom I learned about the awesome things that were going … Continue reading

Prelude: Brittany Tuggle

Ever since I was a child, I was taught that giving to others was the right thing to do. Now that I am older, I know it’s much deeper than that. It’s about sharing your time with someone and making a difference. If you know me, you know I am a very emotional person. I never take anything for granted. Over the years, people gave their time to help me when they didn’t have to, they wanted to. Why wouldn’t I want to do the same for someone else? I honestly believe what you put out in the world comes back in some way. When I found out about Volunteer Odyssey, I knew it was something I had to experience. Recently, I have been entertaining the idea of starting my own nonprofit organization one day. This was a great way … Continue reading

Week 5, Day 3: Samantha Hicks at Memphis Botanic Garden

Day three of my adventure was at the Memphis Botanic Garden. It was a beautiful day and the perfect weather for outdoor activities. When I arrived at the garden, I noticed that there were several school buses there. I assumed the Botanic Garden must be a hip place for elementary school field trips. After checking in with the staff, I found out that they were having their annual World of Plants festival. During this festival, 2nd through 6th grade students travel through the gardens to several different “countries”. At each station they learn a little about how the plants from that country influence the culture there. Students work on crafts, taste food, and learn lots about each country. The festival lasts for two weeks and the Botanic Gardens expect that they will host approximately 9,000 students during this time! I … Continue reading

Week 5, Day 2: Samantha Hicks at Church Health Center

Day two of my journey with Volunteer Odyssey was at Church Health Center. I had heard of it before, however not being from the area I’ve always assumed that it was simply small medical clinic run by a local church; boy was I wrong! When I first drove into the facility, my first thought was that I was at the wrong place. I’d been imagining a small brick building, much like a doctor’s office. In reality, the Church Health Center facility that I had the privilege of volunteering in today is a large, two story building with lots of windows and natural light. During the summer months every year, the health center hosts a weekly farmers market in their courtyard. It is open not only to the members of the center, but also to the general public. They can shop … Continue reading

Week 5, Day 1: Samantha Hicks at SRVS

Hello all! Let me start this week off with a confession. This is my first time blogging! I am a religious follower of tons of blogs and the writers are always so amazing that I feel like I am sitting down having tea with them, not sitting behind a computer screen on the other side of the country. I have been sitting in front of my computer while the television babysits my three year old for the last hour ( I know, mother of the year award material, for sure) trying to figure out how to make this next week interesting for everyone. I have had all kinds of wild delusions this past weekend while anticipating my blog writing. I have imagined adding “Samantha Hicks – Blogger Extraordinaire” to my resume and having the following conversation with a new friend … Continue reading

Prelude: Samantha Hicks

For the last few years my life has been packed full of potty training, princesses, and playing pretend. I am lucky enough to have had the amazing opportunity of being a stay at home mom for the past three years. It has been an incredible experience, and I have relished in every moment of it. Aside from being a full time mother, staying at home with my daughter has also enabled me to complete a Master’s Degree in Social Work through The University of Tennessee’s distance learning program. Nearing the end of my last semester of graduate school I decided that it was time to trade my mom jeans for dress slacks and begin my search for what they call a “real job”. After all, I couldn’t possibly believe that spending the next fifteen years at home playing dress up … Continue reading

Epilogue: Atina Rizk

  Seduced by flashing lights and bustling crowds, I have always wanted to move away to a bigger city. Skyscrapers and taxi cabs make me smile. This is how I have felt since I was a young girl. But volunteering in Memphis has caused me to fall in love with this city and makes me want to stay right here for a long time to come. It’s exciting to live here where there is such a large community of people trying to help their fellow Memphians. During my week with Volunteer Odyssey, I got to help the elderly, the immobile, the homeless and alone, adults with special needs, school-age children with their homework, people struggling to be and stay healthy, those who have lost their sight, and parents just trying to keep their families together. The number of hours I … Continue reading

Week 5, Day 7: Atina Rizk at the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality

You are a hardworking person with a family to support. You have a job, a home, a car and a truck, and are living a good clean life. The stock market crashes. Your small business fails. You live off of savings while you look for a job. Your car breaks down. You lose your house. You spend all your money to move to a new place where you have been promised steady work. The person you relied on disappears. Your truck gets stolen. You are stranded. But you still have that family to support. How are you going to keep them together?   For a precious few, the answer is the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, a shelter for homeless families. Sister Maureen, a Catholic nun for 48 years, works to provide a stable and supportive environment for families while … Continue reading

Week 5, Day 6: Atina Rizk at WYPL FM 89.3

The most important thing about choosing a place to volunteer consistently is to choose an activity that you already love. Since childhood, I have loved words. You could not drag me away from a book if you tried, but my favorite thing to do with words is to read them out loud. That makes being a volunteer reader a perfect fit for me.   WYPL is a radio station broadcast by the Memphis Public Library. Volunteers read books (broadcast in installments), magazines, and several different newspapers everyday. The idea is that people who are visually impaired deserve to stay current despite their inability to read. Of course, other people listen in as well. After all, that’s how I found out about this opportunity– I just happened to tune in on a road-trip one day. The potential number of people impacted … Continue reading

Week 5, Day 5: Atina Rizk at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore

The aesthetic of a home has a huge impact on those who live there. No one wants to feel that their house is shabby; no one wants to feel bad inviting their friends to visit. This of course assumes that you have a house. What if you don’t?  Habitat for Humanity’s goal is to eliminate substandard homes and provide people with safe environments while simultaneously fighting urban blight for entire communities. But this blog is not about Habitat for Humanity. It’s about their ReStore (punny name, I know!). The ReStore’s merchandise consists of donated furniture, building materials, appliances, nick knacks, and odds and ends. It is run by Habitat for Humanity and all profits benefit it. This is my kinda place, a shop where everything is for a good cause and everything has potential. There are pieces with beautiful structure … Continue reading