Torey Jovick: Make the most of your week off.
You have plenty of options when you're making plans for Spring Break. And if you really want to, you can spend the entire week hanging out with friends, experiencing a new culture - and painting houses from sunup to sundown in the middle of a Nevada desert.
For junior Torey Jovick, leading a group of more than two dozen students to the Ft. McDermitt Indian Reservation in 2004 was an ideal way to express her commitment to service. It was the second straight year she'd participated in our Take a Break program, which sends students to help impoverished communities in different parts of the country.
As a freshman, Jovick was part of a group that served the citizens of Jonestown, Miss., a predominantly African American community in the heart of the South. The experience of working with disadvantaged children and renovating run-down buildings was so satisfying that she volunteered to be the group leader at Ft. McDermitt. "I wanted to give other students the opportunities that I'd had at Jonestown," says Jovick. "I had two great leaders on that trip, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm and dedication to helping people with other students. I wanted to open their hearts to service."
Mission accomplished. At Ft. McDermitt, Jovick's group brightened the lives of families by painting five houses in five days. They also bridged the culture gap by serving as mentors to scores of youngsters. "I couldn't believe how hard every person worked each day from sunrise to sundown," she says. "It felt wonderful to be leading a group that I trusted and who trusted me as a leader to do the best I could. It was a leadership opportunity that will always be a part of me."
And Jovick's definition of leadership extends beyond the U.S. border. She'll be studying in ValparaÃ, Chile, for her entire junior year, and she plans to make the most of the service opportunities that present themselves. "I think service isn't just my obligation - it's our obligation to help other people because we have the means to do it," says Jovick, who won a $1,000 scholarship from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars based on her dedication to academics, leadership and service. "We can't just forget about other people."
Spring 2005 Update: Jovick, who is currently studying in Chile, has recently been elected as the national vice president of community service of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). She is one of fifteen members of the National Leadership Council for NSCS, which serves as a student voice and advisory council to the NSCS professional staff.