Three years ago, I was a volunteer teacher in China and saw a level of poverty that really surprised me. Actually, I saw over and over again how families struggled to meet their needs.
So when I was given diverse choices for the community service project as part of the Summer Intensive Program at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, I quickly conducted research. One issue aroused my interest greatly: in the U.S., one out of three families struggle to afford any kind of baby diapers. Yes, one in three; the number is astonishingly high. As such, I chose as my project the Greater DC Diaper Bank program without any hesitation. I strongly believe that all families should have the essentials to thrive.
On August 3rd, my team made up of 35 new Carey students and faculty packed over 47,000 diapers with the Diaper Bank manager. This work would benefit up to 1,300 families in providing basic necessities for their children.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere as we were working as a group. All my teammates made their own contribution to achieve our goal of helping more families in D.C., and we finished our task way ahead of schedule. In the process, I learned that it was really hard to raise children when they are young, and came to understand that parents need a huge amount of energy, patience, time, and money to educate them. Also, I came to realize the difficulty my own parents had encountered when they raised me. I really want to give my sincere love and thanks back to my parents.
What’s more, through this meaningful community service activity, I realized that Americans put lots of energy, time, and money to help people in need. This is an absolutely unique experience in the United States, which helped me to better understand western culture. I believe deeply that changing babies changes lives. It’s our mission and duty to empower families and individuals by providing reliable and adequate sources of basic baby needs and personal hygiene products. Also, I believe that giving little can change a lot, whether it is through time, money, or other efforts. Every dollar and each hour we donated could help vulnerable families grow stronger.
The last thing I’d love to mention is the atmosphere at the Greater DC Diaper Bank. Volunteering was family friendly from sorting inventory to organizing the Baby Pantry. Such an excellent experience was a great way to start talking about giving back in a tangible way that everyone can relate to and was also really fun. During the whole process the two managers not only showed us the organization’s intro video but also continued to count the diapers we had packed. I still remember what Lisa, one of the managers, told us:
“Thank you so much for supporting those families in need and for your dedication to make the incredible happen in our community. It’s together that the incredible happens. More than 1,300 families are better able to care for their children every month thanks to all of you.”
I believe the major aim of Summer Intensive is to help us blend in this new environment from different angles as fast as possible. That’s the reason it’s called “intensive.” Another aspect of this program is to cultivate beneficial approaches to learning and working as a business professional. Thanks to Carey Business School’s unique opportunities, I have learned how to collaborate, communicate, and work with other people even if we just met. This will definitely give me a jump start as a working professional when I graduate.