My name is Kelly Workman. I am a senior at Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Math for Educators. My passion is helping students grow educationally, but especially helping them grow personally. I try to take this passion for growth outside of the children I teach, and bring it to my cross country and track team at Indiana Tech. This is my first time in Washington D.C. so I cannot wait to tell you about Tuesday!
First, I want to tell you that my peers here are amazing!!! We are all so well connected and it is as if we already have trust, honesty, and reliability in our relationships. My two roommates Sophia, Michelle and I; along with José, decided to wake up bright and early to get our daily run in. This involved us running across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. What a sight to see! Many of us were feeling like we needed a little boost before heading to the office, so of course, we picked up Starbucks. As we headed to the American Red Cross Headquarters, we were ready for a day filled with influential leaders and speakers.
The first speaker of the day was Chris Hrouda, the Executive Vice President of Biomedical Services. I could feel his passion for the Red Cross as soon as he started talking. A few pieces of advice he shared with us were: “Have desire/work ethic, be flexible, and be willing to take on challenges you are not comfortable doing.” These words are perfect as we approach the challenges and duties we will face as Red Cross/NAIA Ambassadors.
We then had one of our awesome mentors, Hanna Malak, teach us how change is inevitable no matter what aspect of life you may be dealing with. His advice was “Be the change you want to see.” This advice helps us lead our blood drives on our campus, and see that we can make a difference at our school and the Red Cross. We had lunch and then moved onto an activity called “True Colors” lead by Tori Velazquez and Carolyn Boyer. This activity involved all of us examining adjectives and ranking them 1-4, adding the numbers, and seeing if we were a blue, orange, green, or gold. I was blue which has adjectives such as: sympathetic, personal, warm, compassionate, sincere, and idealistic. We worked with our color to describe our needs, joys, values, strengths, and stressors. This activity helped me see how different my peers were, and how to better understand them to ensure we have a positive relationship. I learned that although they may be different, there are aspects we all bring to the table in order to have a strong team.
The next speaker was another amazing mentor of ours, Megan Mosiniak. She spoke to us about how to use our resources such as personal time, talent, energy, and wealth toward aspects of our lives we value. We learned that saying no to things is not always bad, and sometimes it helps you get to where you want to be and what you aspire to be. She helped me realize how much work and time I need to put toward my blood drives at Tech to have a more successful drive and save so many more lives.
Megan’s speech was followed by advice from Randon McNeil, our last fantastic mentor. He helped us understand the data behind previous drives at our schools, the reasons behind our number of donors dropping or rising, and how goals are set for our blood drives. This gave us a better perspective of the amount of donors we need to recruit to reach our goal and save more lives.
Our last speaker of the day was the most genuine and caring human being I have ever came across, and her name was Anna Maria Larsen. She mentioned three aspects you need in life: to know thyself, follow your heart, and be bold. She taught me how to get past the hard days and always have a smile on my face. She mentioned there is no such thing as failure, because you learn from everything. Her knowledge and authenticity she expressed was an aspect I admire and hope to display throughout my life.
So our day at the office concluded, but our adventures in the city were just beginning. We took a long stroll to Georgetown, a historic neighborhood in northwest D.C. Half the group pursued a sushi restaurant, as the “no-shis” pursued a barbecue restaurant. We all enjoyed our dinner so we continued our pursuits down the main road which included shopping boutiques and stores. We then continued to the Potomac River, where we enjoyed a sunset view. As we walked back to Thurston hall we briefly stopped by the JFK Memorial Center for Performing Arts, and got a rooftop night view of this beautiful city, what a way to end the night with some good friends.
Thanks so much for reading my entry, and make sure to keep visiting to learn about our adventures and learning experiences.