Accidental (and uneasy) activism

How's a fat girl feel in a pool?  Not too hot.

How’s a fat girl feel in a pool. Not too hot.

I’m an accidental activist.  I started volunteering at Multiple Sclerosis Swim my freshmen year of college because the Sondheim program required it.  I chose MS Swim because none of the other service sites could fit into my schedule, forcing my body-conscious self into a pool with strangers every week.

It took a whole semester to be comfortable with stretching out others’ legs and to open up to the clients there; but eventually I did.  Through talks with the MS clients, I realized the good I was doing and decided to challenge myself more, and to make MS Swim a better program.

Get over it, you're fucking beautiful.

Get over it, you’re fucking beautiful.

It is now my fifth semester volunteering there and I am the intern for the site.  I make it a point to thoroughly train all volunteers and to get them emotionally connected to the site.  MS Swim is more than just a time commitment–it is helping a friend improve her own mobility.  At the end of last semester, the volunteers and I made an apple pie for the clients.  They loved it, and honestly, I had never felt so accomplished at the site.

MS Swim, and volunteering in general, is a part of my life now.  I approach my friends and family about participating in different volunteer opportunities available.  Just recently, I helped out with an event at a residence hall to get kids more involved with volunteering.  I now attend supportive dinners as an advocate for my friends with multiple sclerosis.

All of this came from something I did out of necessity.  I am so happy to have been forced out of my comfort zone.  I now hope to show fellow students how they can help others, even if it requires challenging themselves.

C'mon, who wouldn't feel accomplished?

C’mon, who wouldn’t feel accomplished?

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2 thoughts on “Accidental (and uneasy) activism

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