Lessons Learned

Sitting in class today, we went around the room and shared our experiences for the past week. It was exciting to hear all of the amazing progress my classmates have made! Three students have already exceeded the amount they need for shipping costs, and many have already collected numerous boxes worth of supplies. As we went around, students shared stories of how they had been so successful. Justin had spoken at his church, and collected money afterwards; Kryssa had spoken with family members at a local church and at the University of Florida to collect supplies; Patrick is busy organizing a drive at the local spot for Boba Tea, Kaleisha. Their success has been astounding, and I can only hope for the same success. While listening to their stories, I compared their actions to my own. After paying close attention, I came to a few realizations and noted some important lessons that I learned.

Communication is Key!

If you’ve already read Sarai’s blog about our hunt for supplies this past Tuesday, you know we were only slightly successful with our events. Although the Holly staff was very supportive, there was, unfortunately, little communication about the collection of supplies. Even though the collection was posted on the Facebook event, nobody took the time to read the “event description.” Nobody also took notice of the Facebook message sent out via the “Cirque du Cypress” event group. Students attending these events don’t take the time to read about them, and don’t typically care about them until they are actually in attendance. Many students stated “I wish I would have known, we were never told.” I wanted to jump up and down and say “YOU WERE!”

Courtesy of Dolighan.com

As a result of their reaction, many questions pop into my mind: How do we get them to take notice of these drives if they ignore them? If Facebook isn’t captivating our audience, how do we make the residents of USF care? Should we flyer more? Speak at their individual floor meetings? Maybe it’s time to reroute our marketing efforts. There’s one thing I know for sure: Communication is key, and we aren’t communicating effectively.


Upon sharing our experiences with our classmates, Zoe Stiling, a classmate of mine gave great advice. “Be annoying,” she said. “If you feel like you are beginning to get on someone’s nerves, you are doing it right.” She then shared some of her own experiencefrom working with Freedom High School teachers.

While many of them have been very supportive and have already donated 6 boxes worth of supplies, she explained that some of them need an extra push.

Her story made me feel much better about my own efforts. It wasn’t that I was doing something wrong, just that I wasn’t doing the right thing enough. Maybe, the RA’s we are working with need an extra push, a call to action. If we don’t give them a constant reminder of the project, it will easily slip to the back of their mind. I know as a college student, extra projects aren’t always at the forefront of my mind. By making this mission an important one for the RA’s, they will help with it more. It’s simple; you make time for the things you care about. Their active involvement will breed active involvement in their residents. Hopefully.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

Through all of our efforts, I have met many people involved in a wide array of clubs and organizations. Everyone I’ve met has had an idea, or a club that they think will want to help, but not everyone does. That’s the downfall, I’m learning, about working for a

Courtesy of opentech.wikispaces.com

grassroots organization. I’m also learning to be thankful and appreciative for everything someone does to help, no matter how miniscule. While everyone wants to help out, not everyone, especially in this economy, has the means to do so. While we were talking about this, our professor, Liisa Temple really put it in perspective. “Actions speak louder than words,” she said. Many people will say that they can help, but not everyone can. The people you can really rely on for help are the ones that prove it to you. The BIC pen company really demonstrated this by donating 3,000 pens to one of my classmates. No questions were asked, and she had heard nothing until the pens were delivered to her house.

Through this entire experience, I have grown a lot, and learned many lessons. I have realized that some people may say no, but I have witnessed the strength of saying “yes.” The support my classmates and myself have received has been greatly appreciated, and I know that this cause will continue to see great things. The key lessons I learned this week are: 1.  Communication is KEY!  2. BE ANNOYING!!!-If you feel like you are getting on someone’s nerves, you are probably doing it right. 3.  Actions speak louder than words.



About Kati Fratesi

My name is Kati Fratesi and I am a senior at the University of South Florida, majoring in Psychology and focusing on leadership studies. I am an active member of many campus organizations, including Delta Gamma Fraternity, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement Leadfellows and the National Society for Leadership and Success.
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