By Shaunise Day
Serving plays a big part in my life since it is part of my life’s purpose. I have been serving on a professional and personal level for 10 years. My volunteer work started in 2011. One night I went to bed hungry by choice and throughout the entire night, I could only worry about the people that are used to hunger pains. Morning could not come fast enough for me. First, I would be able to fix something to eat, and two, I was going down to the local food bank to find out ways that I could help and get involved. I had no idea what was to come next. For the next several years, I worked with several colleagues to organize events to give back to our community. During the holidays we collected food goods and donated to our Alameda food banks. During Christmas, we have partnered with the Salvation Army to adopt a family for the holidays. From Toys for Tots, One Warm Coat drive, back-to-school supplies to elementary schools, and reading partners, volunteering is something that we can all find time to do in one way or another. It all started by me being too tired to cook dinner late at night and walking into my local food bank to see how I could be part of the solution. When it comes to volunteering on a personal level, I normally stay quiet about serving. However, I hope this will encourage others to get involved within their communities especially during this pandemic.
Serving on the Student/Teacher Committee and PAC Governing Board for NCRA has opened up so many doors for me. Where do I even begin? From the connections to the wisdom, from education to friendships, I can go on and on about NCRA’s committees. I remember when I was too shy to speak up on one committee call and share an idea, and I let a whole year pass by before I would share what I had in mind. My first committee call was intimidating. I was on a call with elite stenographers, and I didn’t think my idea would be good enough so I stayed quiet. I decided to have a long talk with myself and decided it was time that I start speaking up. Either it’s going to be a good idea or a bad idea. As of today, I am so happy that I spoke up. The idea that I proposed to the committee became a staple seminar session for the students for four years. The speed dating session where students and reporters network. The goal was to not have another PowerPoint session but to create a session where the students and reporters could engage with one another. Not only was I able to learn about the creative side that I was afraid to unleash, serving on this committee also taught me time management, patience, leadership, stepping out on faith, and going with what I know. I also learned thinking outside of the box, creating spaces for others to grow and network, and so much more. You’ve heard of Steno in the City; Confessions of a Stenographer, the steno podcast; and The Steno Xperience, right? I have to give credit to NCRA and California Court Reporters Association committees for allowing me to serve and grow into the woman that I am today on a professional level.
If you are an introvert and you are looking to come out of your shell and don’t know where to start, get involved! If you ever need someone to talk to about serving, I am a phone call away. Steno is my love language, and if I can encourage anyone to get involved and serve, I am here for you. But I promise you, one phone call with me and you are going to start thinking about the goals and dreams that you may have on the backburner. Serving has changed my life on a personal and professional level.
Shaunise Day is a student from Oakland, Calif.