A Mosaic of Purpose
I stood in my office, knuckles pressed to the table, and stared in inquisition at the glowing screens that embodied my service. The blue light had made my eyes sore and my mind was racing as I tried to piece together the fragmented ideas that engulfed my thoughts. I was lost in the complex community network that I struggled to navigate. In that moment, I let my eyes close, and I took a breath in. My attention was glued to the sensation of air passing through my chest while I maintained an awareness of the task at hand. When my eyes opened, I had calmed, and I turned back to my computer to piece together a mosaic I would be proud of. This ‘AHA moment’ was when I found what I loved most about serving others.
In that moment, I was designing a structure of potential community partners and activities in an initiative that could bring emergency preparedness education to youth living in the city of Pittsburgh. My team of doctors, researchers, and public health workers decided that we would try to increase the proportion of a community that would be prepared for an emergency. Whether it was sudden cardiac arrest, a drug overdose, or any other life threatening situation, our team brainstormed avenues to create accessible education to imbue the community with basic lifesaving skills. This opened numerous doors for me to engage with professionals, community leaders, and organizations throughout the community I served.
From one connection to the next, I met with incredible folks who held their own unique purpose and values in their efforts to serve their community. This proved to be quite overwhelming at times. I needed to learn how to generate buy-in and reciprocity. Although our goals and missions were not identical, the activities of each group had one thing in common. We were all trying to serve a community in need, Homewood. From this node of purpose, the emergency preparedness education program could be molded to address the needs of the community organizations our group hoped to partner with. These interactions with the community only expanded what I considered to be my team. Although I wish I could share every detail about this initiative, it is enough to say that I had the privilege to give the project strong bones.
The moment we developed the vision of how this program could be organized to meet the needs of a community, I realized something. I had found what I loved most about service as I toiled over each piece of the puzzle. With refined communication, commitment to a common purpose, and unwavering persistence in the face of adversity, we can work together to creatively generate structures that can strengthen communities. In the coalescence of the your understanding of each person you serve, you are left with a beautiful mosaic that tells the intricate story of their community. Throughout this service year, I have learned what drives me to serve others; the process of recognizing a problem, working with teammates to understand it, and creatively developing a solution. When I found myself present in this process, I felt that I was in pursuit of happiness.
120 Lytton Avenue
Mezzanine Floor, Suite M060
Pittsburgh, PA 15213