For many Duke and Stanford student-athletes, ACE is an eye-opening experience. They return to campus with a new depth of gratitude and a drive to give back to others. “There’s so much good to be done just in our community, and it presents itself in a million different ways,” says Lelia Boley, Duke Rowing and ACE in China.
For Lelia, creating an Action Plan was not just about continuing service in her own life, but getting her teammates involved in the community as well. “I know that sometimes the hardest part of volunteering for super busy student-athletes can be scheduling and planning, so I wanted to make it easier for my team of 50-something excited, capable, and driven individuals to invest their time as well.”
The first step in getting her team involved in the community was to identify service work that would fit her team’s interests, and this required Lelia to consider new ways of serving. “I really just started to broaden my scope of volunteering opportunities. I think when I had tried to get involved in the community earlier, I had too narrow of an idea of what ‘volunteering’ should be. I thought if I wasn’t serving meals or working in the children’s hospital, I wasn’t making as much of a difference. I realized that anything I did to help others or to brighten someone’s day was worth doing.”
“I realized that anything I did to help others or to brighten someone’s day was worth doing.” – Lelia
One opportunity that Lelia found to brighten others’ days is right here on campus. She brought groups of 10-12 from her team of over 50 rowers to prepare baked goods at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham and Wake, located on Duke’s Central Campus.
“There’s so much good to be done just in our community, and it presents itself in a million different ways”
While direct service activities have been a big part of Lelia’s Action Plan, another significant part is the way she interacts with others on a daily basis. “I have thought a lot about the ways that I want to be with others all the time, not just when taking part in service activities. Doing good and acting in such a way only makes you and those around you happier.” As Lelia’s Action Plan shows, a life of civic engagement and public service is not just about singular events, but about the way she interacts with everyone around her.