ESMS Challenge: Interns Paying It Forward

From the Intern’s Desk

Bianca’s Perspective:

My way of giving back to the community was by helping three of my close friends.  I didn’t really have to go out of my way, as I would have done these acts of kindness anyway, were it not for this ESMS challenge.  Two of my friends struggle with anxiety, and they have a hard time balancing school work.   I helped my one friend completely re-organize and clean out her room, create and prioritize lists of things to be done, and also help her schedule her school assignments.  She has a hard time staying organized, and I really do love helping her because it makes me feel good when she feels stable.

My other friend who struggles with anxiety needed help with his Italian homework.  I excelled in my Italian courses, so I had no problem sitting with him and helping him through his writing assignments.  All he needed was a little push to get his thoughts down on paper.  He is always extremely grateful for my assistance, and I know he values our friendship.

Lastly, a friend of mine was struggling with how to search for a job once she graduates in May.  I went over her resume with her, helped her access the WCU Ram Career Network, and also showed her how to use an app called “Jobr.”  All these resources will help her land interviews and ultimately a full-time job.

I love watching my friends succeed, and I am proud to be a part of their journey.  I feel like I really made a difference in their lives, and our friendships are stronger because of my outreach.  I know my friends would help me if I needed them, but I would do anything for them regardless.


Stephanie’s Perspective:

A month ago we were given a challenge to “Pay it Forward” which is doing an act of kindness.  I chose 3 friends and helped them by giving my time and being a great friend when it was needed. I helped two friends prepare for their job search by helping them develop their resume as well as mentoring them through the process of creating a LinkedIn profile. Lastly, I helped a friend who has little time by simply using my extra time throughout the day to pick up his dirty clothes, wash, dry, fold and return his clean clothes back to him! Although, they are all close individuals to me, rather than a complete stranger, I was able to see how my act of kindness impacted their life. The immense gratitude I received from each person is what makes me want to continue to use my extra time in ways that will be beneficial to other people.

Honestly, I feel like these acts of kindness were hardly acts of kindness. To me, I felt like these were moral choices; I really believe my parents raised me to always consider how other people would feel, and to always help others. Although, it was nice to really put these actions into perspective by writing them out, it really made me appreciate how my parents raised me. I really hope when I have kids and raise them, they too embrace the same morals and values.

Stephanie Sywensky


Caroline’s Perspective:

For the past month, I’ve been volunteering at The Solana Willistown, which is an assisted living community in West Chester. On a typical day when I’m there, I call out the numbers for bingo, play board games with the residents, or just sit and spend time with them. The day prior to being assigned the ESMS Pay it Forward Challenge, I had actually thought about reaching out to nursing homes in the area to see if I could volunteer. So when this challenge was assigned to the interns, I knew I was destined to follow through and find a volunteer opportunity! The second I walked through the door of The Solana, I immediately felt welcomed.

I think what makes this experience so special to me is knowing I’m impacting peoples’ lives, even if just in a small way. In the many hours I’ve spent at The Solana, I’ve already become someone the residents look forward to seeing each week. Being with the residents truly lifts my spirits and improves my week entirely.  I love knowing I’m brightening peoples’ days, and I know this is something I want to continue doing for a long time!


Jen’s Perspective:

About a month ago Cynthia talked with us about the importance of being generous and give back to others that may be struggling.  She asked us to really give time to someone who may need a little extra advice or help.  While I think of myself as a kindhearted person, ready to help anyone who may need it, I really thought about how much difference giving someone time could be.

Living with roommates can be difficult at times, especially when sharing a room with someone who has excessive anxiety.  My roommate has be struggling with trying to manage her anxiety issues for a while, especially when it comes to school work.  As an early education major, she is constantly making time intensive projects and lesson plans for her students.  While I have always been there to give her pep talks when she was feeling nervous about an assignment or stressing over how she performed that day, it occurred to me that I have not given her my time to actually help make her projects.  For the past month I have helped her make her poster presentations that she teaches to her students.  It cut back on the work that she had to do and it drastically cut back on her stress levels.  Not only did it help my roommate feel more relaxed about getting her work done, it also was a fun bonding experience that we haven’t shared before.  The stress levels in the apartment went down, we grew closer as friends, I felt great helping her out, and she felt more relaxed and less anxious about her school work.

Giving someone your time can have such a huge impact on someone’s life. It’s important to be kind to others and to remember that giving back can be very rewarding!




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