I can’t stop, won’t stop. I will continue to perform service throughout my life because it is a part of who I am.
FGCU nursing graduate Raliyah Dawson, who has performed more than 160 community service hours, sees service-learning as a lifestyle. “You don’t wake up on certain days and think, ‘I want to do something nice for someone today.’ You wake up every day with the attitude and mindset to be a blessing to those around you because your heart senses that there is a need.”
Dawson said service-learning is important to her because of those who came before her and did their part to strengthen the community, so the community could, in turn, have the resources to invest in her life and help Dawson realize her potential. She believes that the more you do for others, the more you see that you are only one part of a greater society.
A memorable experience for Dawson, she said, was when a student at the Quality Life Center in Fort Myers told her that consistency could help make the organization better. “I know this seems so small, but this was so powerful to me because they weren’t asking me to develop a grand plan, or something that was beyond my ability to do. They were requiring something so little that in return means so much.”
Service-learning “has given me the opportunity to develop and tell my story. Storytelling is so riveting because it has helped me to find the beauty in the underdeveloped and underappreciated, and helped me to understand that even trailblazers create innovations in the wilderness.”
Dawson’s advice to first-year students about service-learning: “Realize how blessed and privileged we are to be at the school of opportunity, the home of The FGCU Effect. I would encourage them to get prepared to grow their wings and soar like the Eagles they are destined to become.”