Leading By Example

The Exercise Science department at Grand Rapids Community College has recently engaged in an opportunity through The Michigan Campus Compact.  Our community partner in this initiative is Feeding America West Michigan,which is an incredible organization that I have written about in the past when speaking about the need to give back to the community in which we live and work.

Our department formed a team that was able to participate in a Ride for Refuge which entailed raising funds to support a walk or bike ride at the distance of your choice.  We had students, faculty, staff, and our Provost contribute in various capacities.  From helping with registration to walking and riding, it was a great morning to bring resources and energy to an organization that puts food on the table for those in need.

I have to say the highlight of my day was to see our Provost and fearless leader, Laurie Chesley, show up and smoke our whole team.  She was the only one who rode the 25 mile route into EXTREME headwinds. (I’m not exaggerating. It was like we were riding uphill the whole way.)  Sometimes people underestimate the effect they can have on others when they are willing to just step up and get involved.  Leading doesn’t always have to be loud and dramatic. Sometimes it can be done in subtle, quiet ways.  To paraphrase the great Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can not hear what you are saying.”  It’s all too true.  We can sit around and talk about needs in the community but if we aren’t willing to step up and be leaders in making a change, it’s impossible to make a difference.

On Saturday, October 24th the United State will observe Make a Difference Day.  Students enrolled in Exercise Science at GRCC classes will be donating their time to packing and sorting food that will go directly out to community pantries and ultimately wind up on tables in the area.  Eating healthy is challenging, especially when families are experiencing food insecurity.

Please consider stepping forward, being a leader, and contributing your time or talent to something you feel passionate about in your community.  Because, in the words of Marc Sanborn, “You don’t need a title to be a leader.  You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do.” There comes a point where you have to step forward and do it.

Photo Credit: andrewjschmidt.photo@gmail.com

Photos taken by team members:

Leave a Reply