My Journey

What a journey these last two and half years have been! I have been unexpectedly surprised in so many ways throughout my time at CCBC. I will admit that I was like most people in thinking that community college would be dull, not fulfilling and just a cheaper way to earn a few credits before transferring. But…the minute I stepped onto the campus and into the classrooms, my whole outlook changed and I knew I had to stay for my Associates.

There have been an abundance of opportunities given to me at CCBC. The faculty that I have met haven’t just been teachers, they have been mentors and even friends. They have genuinely cared about my future and well-being. I know that they will each have a special place in my life and offer guidance as I continue to achieve my goals.

The fellow students in my classes have offered encouragement, and support. My peers have been incredible, and I was constantly amazed of the character displayed in those people who have ventured into my life at CCBC. The culture of CCBC has shown me the variety and uniqueness of individuals from around the world. In specific, the Student Ambassador program has allowed me a chance to spend more time with wonderful International students that have inspired me and have become my friends.

The Student Ambassador program has provided me the opportunity to lead, motivate and share my own story almost everyday. The people I have met throughout the college when working events have continued to change my life. Each one offering new insight and provoking thoughts about life and education.

My love of volunteering and desire to help others has emerged throughout my time at CCBC. I was able to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Our Daily Bread, and even had the opportunity to travel to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Alternative Spring Break. Literally, some of my volunteer experiences were life changing and I will forever be inspired because of each of them.

I want to say thank you to CCBC from the depths of my heart for being more than I could have ever imagined.

CCBC was an unexpected surprise, and it was fate that I ended up at CCBC for my Associates. I’m so blessed to have been here for two and half years.

I have been molded by the professors, staff and peers that I have come into contact with everyday. My experiences have motivated me for future endeavors and my new degree has equipped me to continue on my educational journey.

It’s bitter sweet saying good-bye to a place that I have loved and it’s surreal to think that my time has come to an end. I will take with me the knowledge, and skills that have been ingrained in me by the amazing educators at CCBC.

I will be a person who will strive for change, and hope to make the world a better place one step at a time.

Thank you to every single person who has crossed paths with me at CCBC, and thank you for helping me become the person I am today.

And…ultimately…

Thank you CCBC for helping me get one step closer to my dreams!

I hope I make you proud!

Believe in Yourself

In these final weeks of classes, I just wanted to remind you to believe in yourself. You have made it this far in the semester, and you only have a little more school work to conquer. I wish the best of luck to everyone with their last assignments and finals.

Giving Tuesday

I’m sure everyone has heard of the infamous BLACK FRIDAY, which consists of bombardments of people hitting the stores in order to receive discounts. This annual holiday has even transpired onto the evening of Thanksgiving with many stores opening at 10 pm on Thursday. Many shoppers exclaim that the experience of shopping during the dreaded black Friday is what causes them to rise during the wee hours of the morning.

Then with the addition of technology a new holiday emerged known as CYBER MONDAY. Instead of waking up to hit the stores, people are awakening at early hours to shop on-line because of the special offers like free shipping and 50% off select merchandise. The convenience of discount shopping from the luxury of your own bed, this is the epitome of American society.  The stores aim for the impulsive nature of most Americans, and attempt to claim more dollars from your wallets with just the click of a button. Many store websites became overloaded on Cyber Monday because of all the business. I have to confess that I did my own little shopping spree on Cyber Monday because some of the deals were just too hard to pass up ;-)

In all the craze of buying gifts, and thinking of material possessions, most individuals did not realize that in fact Tuesday is a new holiday within the Thanksgiving weekend spectacle. GIVING TUESDAY is a day where everyone is encouraged to give donations to their favorite charities. In the true spirit of Christmas, it seems only fair that a day be designated to generosity and faithfulness to those in need. I’m only hoping that people saved enough monetary funds to give, instead of just buy.

 

The fact that there is a new holiday now known as GIVING TUESDAY makes me feel inspired. In a world where hatred and animosity are still a daily occurrence, I’m hopeful for the future. It seems that many are still determined to make this world a better place for future generations. There is a multitude of people that are hurting, sick and in need at this very moment. Not only are they millions of miles away, but they are in your own neighborhood. Every person needs a helping hand at some point in their lives. There are multiple non-profit organizations and charities that are in financial need in order to create a difference in the world.

I ENCOURAGE every person to give at least one dollar to a charity today. Think of how many things you spend one dollar on, but with GIVING TUESDAY you know that your dollar will be united with other dollars to make a transformation in this world. Don’t just consider doing it this week, but all of the weeks throughout this holiday season.

Giving is such a rewarding experience, and it’s worth the sacrifice.

These are a few charities that are participating in GIVING TUESDAY:

 

WWW.WORLDVISION.ORG

WWW.CONVENANTHOUSE.ORG

WWW.WISH.ORG

I hope that this inspires you to give…

Happy Thanksgiving :-)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone! Enjoy your break :-)

A little inspiration for the few days off…

LIFE is full of give and take….GIVE THANKS & take NOTHING for GRANTED.

The Courage to Be Extraordinary

It saddens me to see all of the people who settle before achieving their full potential because of fears, attitudes and stereotypes. Many individuals look towards peers and elders to show them how they should act, behave and think.

Instead, it’s important for each person to look within themselves in order to become the extraordinary person that is waiting for them. Each person has a talent or gift that makes them unique, and being labeled “regular” should not be accepted.

Take the time to overcome the normal expectations, and take a chance to be the person you have always dreamed of being!

You Never Know Who You Will Reach…

For everyone who has been following my blog, you may remember that last spring I participated in the CCBC Alternative Spring Break to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. After my life-changing experience, I recapped my thoughts, and feelings about my week of service on the reservation in my blog. I poured out my heart and soul because I was truly affected by the people I met and what I witnessed in the Oglala Lakota community. I wanted to inform others about the Native American populace that seems to be continually forgotten. I was hoping that my story would motivate people to make a change. It seemed that people were extremely receptive in response to my emotional account, but the comments began to fade as time went on…..Until now….

I received an e-mail from a faculty member on the CCBC campus who wanted to discuss my blog. Her nephew had grown up on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and she had shared my blog with him. He lives in Arizona, and the blog was sent to him through the mail. He not only read my blog, but shared it with his friend who is also committed to the native culture. After reading my blog, they were both so thankful and inspired that they made ME a delicate hand beaded necklace. They not only spent hours making the necklace, but beaded the saying, ” Mitakuye Oyasin“, which means “WE ARE ALL RELATED” onto the beaded chain. Mitakuye Oyasin are the last words that I stated on my blog, and the lasting quote that was  imprinted on my heart by the Oglala Lakota nation. The two men wanted to honor me with a present because of my hard work and dedication to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I was in awe of this beautiful gift and amazing generosity. I felt that I shouldn’t be thanked for serving a community that deserves our nations respect and kindness. However, this is a testament to the quality of individuals that are among the Oglala Lakota community. They may have an inadequate amount of resources to fulfill every need, but that does not stop them from loving and making others feel accepted.

The actual beaded necklace gift pictured below:

This incredible gift has made such a monumental difference in my life. I thought that after returning home, and sharing my stories that my week would cease to make a significant difference. Despite my thoughts, I was proved wrong by the unimaginable gift from two men who I’ve never met. They have no idea the influence they have had on my life by taking the time to show their gratitude. The necklace symbolizes much more than just a beautiful beaded craft.

The gift epitomizes the fact that you NEVER know how many people you will reach by sacrificing your time and showing people love….. ONE word, ONE touch, and ONE smile can change a person’s LIFE. The legacy you leave behind is bigger than you could EVER imagine.

The necklace exemplifies that community service not only makes a difference for the person you’re helping, but for their whole family and nation. Love can fill the cracks that are breaking, and strengthen the community at large.

My present proves that every single person has the power to make a change in the world. That one determined person can make a difference. No one should be swayed by negative opinions, because the this blog is evidence that making an large impact is possible.

The moments when you go outside of your comfort zone may prove to be the most remarkable moments of your life. The person who is receiving your service may be changed forever, but their stories will make an everlasting imprint on your heart.

The individuals that you have no contact with may be more inspired than the individuals that you meet. My two new friends in Arizona have motivated me to continue my dedication to service. They have given me a unique story that will inspire others to use their power for change. Who knew that two men thousand of miles away would revolutionize my own beliefs in myself? I never knew that I could create such a lasting impact and I’m truly overwhelmed.

Every person should realize their own capacity to inspire, love, serve, and innovate the WORLD. It’s unbelievable, but not impossible!

 

My first blog on my Alternative Spring Break to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: http://blog.ccbcmd.edu/jlutz/2012/04/09/a-profound-spring-break/

And if you’re interested in helping the Oglala Lakota nation and learning more about the service programs offered on the reservation, please visit www.re-member.org

 

Gratefulness

The past couple of days Maryland has experienced the worst of weather conditions. Hurricane Sandy torn through Ocean City and didn’t treat New Jersey or New York City well either. It’s incredible what mother nature can do, and we as humans will never be able to stop impending storms from making their mark.

Although Maryland was covered by the eye of the storm, my surrounding community had no damage and never even had a power outage. There’s no other words to describe what I’m feeling besides gratefulness. In situations like these, I believe everyone tends to be a little more thankful for the little things in life. Being recommended to stay indoors because of the dangerous storm causes people to be trapped with those that they love most. It makes people realize what is truly important in life. I hope that the gratitude and appreciation that many of us felt the past couple of days can be translated into our daily lives.

Be the CHANGE

With the election upon us, I think it’s vital to remember how every single individual is important and can make a difference. Every single person has the capacity for change, and can motivate others to feel the same. I want to encourage each student to look at their own life today, and think of what they can do to inspire others. Start with voting in the election next week…Take advantage of the amazing right that we have been given!

        

Experiencing is Learning

For the past week, I’ve been on a road trip with my mother down to Texas for my cousin’s wedding. Although I’ve missed classes, I realized on this trip how much I’ve learned just by experiencing things and traveling.

Through each new journey, you will learn something new. You can gain new knowledge from beyond the perimeters of the classroom, and expose others to new information.

In addition to our studies, it’s important to attempt new activities and to go places that we have never seen before. The more places you go, the more you learn!

Just a few encouraging words…

These inspirational words caught my eye this week…