Julian Butler – SEEDS, 2015

My Benefits from Participating in the SEEDS Trip to Louisiana

Julian Butler

My experience with SEEDS was both enlightening and empowering in the service that our group was able to provide as well as the learning opportunities planned for us. In attending the SEEDS trip, I was exposed to greater issues of social justice through federal recognition of Native American tribes as well as racial disparities in public health and education outside the Richmond community. I would never have thought of the influence that large industries, such as oil, have on politics and the community at large. While many of the issues that were presented to us were both daunting and disheartening, we were able to hear from amazing activists that told us about their life’s work and how it impacted the community around them. I will never forget one of the quotes that an environmental activist on the trip, Bob Marshall, told us from the Dalai Lama: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in a tent”. I was truly inspired by the work of the activists to look at serving the community in a different and more efficient way to make a greater impact on those around me.

Now that I am back on campus, I realized that there is so much that I can do to benefit both my community better and the communities that we served in Louisiana. The greatest thing that I can do for he communities that we served in Louisiana is to share the stories of the struggles of the Native American tribe we served and speak out about the racial disparities that we learned about. I learned in SEEDS that education is one of the most powerful ways to serve those in need to incite greater communal participation and make people more aware of issues that they might not be cognizant of. These problems might not affect them directly, but they affect others and there could be a time in life where a decision that they make would make an impact on those that need help. If they have no knowledge of the struggles of others, how can they be empathetic towards those that need help? The other thing that I plan to do to make a difference is to incorporate service learning to the volunteering opportunities that I will participate in. If I apply how I served in Louisiana to how I will serve others in Richmond, I will be able to make a greater impact on the Richmond community and become more devoted to the cause that I am aiding. SEEDS has provided me with unfathomable insight and motivation to put what I learned to action and I cannot wait to do everything that I can to serve Richmond in better than I did before.

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