As Community Outreach Chair for Gamma Omicron at the Southern College of Optometry, I have the privilege of coordinating several service events with organizations in the Memphis community including Boys & Girls Club, Junior League of Memphis, and Dress for Success. When going into a service project, I generally find myself thinking about the “good” that it will do for other people, whether that is donating clothing or providing activities that promote health. However, after volunteering with any given organization, I find that I am the one who has received so much from helping others.
It’s hard to explain, but when giving of your time or talent, you are never really giving up anything – you end up receiving a lot more than you could have expected. When volunteering with Boys & Girls Club, several members of our organization would travel to a local club and provide education and activities regarding vision. The kids would always be so eager to learn and share with us what they had accomplished, and it was always incredibly rewarding to feel the difference that had been made in the children’s lives and to know that we had given them love and attention, two qualities that do not require anything more than time to give. The satisfaction of receiving a smile from another individual is worth the cost of providing your time.
Another activity that our club organized was a clothing drive for Repeat Boutique, managed by the Junior League of Memphis. At our spring clothing drive, we received enough donations to fill thirteen cardboard boxes – all from the students, faculty, and staff of SCO. I was flooded with gratitude for being a small piece of such a giving community.
In addition, members of our organization had a lot of fun growing in fellowship with one another while giving to those in need. Never be afraid to serve and connect with others – the relationships you develop, people you serve, and benefits you gain are so worth it!
Michaela Sasse is a current third year student at the Southern College of Optometry, where she serves as Vice President of Beta Sigma Kappa, Community Outreach Chair of Gamma Omicron, and the Optometric Extension Program Foundation Liaison of the American Optometric Student Association. She is also an active member in the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists as well as the Kansas State Club. Her areas of professional interest include Low Vision, Ocular Disease, and Neuro-Optometric Disease, and in her free time she enjoys playing volleyball, weightlifting, and spending time with family and friends. She plans to practice in the rural Midwest following graduation.