Cynic to Philanthropist

The word cynical is not new to me. In fact it’s been directed at me a few times and I honestly have described myself with the word. My distrust in people and belief that they are selfish has undoubtedly held me back from great socializing experiences and has played a critical role in shaping my life. My part-time job is working with animals, my volunteer experience is working with animals, and my main extra-curricular activities since middle school have involved academics and music. Notice there’s no trend of team work and strong socializing with others. This charitable class at USF Honors College, however, has forced me to be assertive, talk to people outside of my comfort zone, and work with some awesome fellow students. The class has also taught me that college students, adults, high school students, and more can donate supplies selflessly simply because they care.

When Professor Temple told us how much we each had to collect, 10 priority shipping boxes measuring 12” x 12” by 5 ½”, I thought she must be out of her mind! Especially because after the first few weeks, the only one who seemed to care was my Mom, and although I love her, I’m 20 and can’t depend on her for everything. So I started speaking more directly about the project, and slowly the donations were trickling in and after a confirmation of a donation from University of Florida my spirits were lifted and I set up a

This is Vetcare Harris Animal Hospital, where I work. Photo courtesy of Vetcare

donation box at work. As I continued to tell anyone who would listen about the importance of the School Supplies for Afghan Children drive and how desperately in need the children over there are, things started happening. A few of the employees where I work have already donated supplies and I think I’ve collected almost two boxes worth! It felt so great to just come to work and hear a fellow coworker say: “Oh, I found some stuff my son never uses so I figured it’d be put to better use with your charity.”

After that boost, I’ve received approximately $200 in donations from family members which is more than what’s necessary for the shipping fund so it will either go to fellow classmates’ shipping fund or I see some thrifty school supplies shopping in my future (which I’m amazing at). I’ve been in complete shock of how open friends and family are to this cause. I thought for sure I’d only get blank stares and “That’s nice.” Now I even have the Reformation Lutheran Church in Lakeland, FL willing to do a school supply drive. I can’t wait to see what amazing donations we get from the kind people there. A special thanks goes to Pastor Wise I’ve been communicating with who is happy to take on the project.

This semester so far has been eye-opening and I’m excited to see what the total donations will be at the end of the semester. Just this past week, I was touched when I was at a friend’s house and his roommate just suddenly said: “Oh yeah, I’ve got some stuff to give you, Kryssa.” I thought I must have left something or it was some food (I’m always hungry) but then he handed me two large notebooks and a few markers. He’d received the Facebook invite to the Bull Market supply drive we’re having on March 30th and instead of waiting until then to get an incentive of free pizza, he figured he’d pass on free pizza and give me the supplies right then. It’s great selfless thinking like that which makes me proud to be a part of this class and eager to continue the work we’ve started and see just how much of a difference this class can make.

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