Student Profile: Pertesia Gadson, University of Minnesota, Rochester

Pertesia Gadson

As a student working towards obtaining my bachelor’s degree, it did not seem like there was much I could do for my community until I started volunteering. When I started volunteering, I learned about the needs of my community, and I got to aid in correcting the problems. For instance, I have been volunteering at the Salvation Army for the past two years. However, it is just recently that I had my most meaningful experience there. I was serving as a volunteer in the Social Services Department of the Salvation Army. My duties included ensuring that the clients presented their appropriate forms of identification and that they were enrolled in the appropriate programs.

This role allowed me to have contact alone with many people who were under resourced and who had physical and mental impairments. It was a meaningful experience because I felt a sense of wholeness by being able to provide people with help during the holiday season. One of my fondest memories of this position occurred when a gentleman who was visually impaired came to apply for services with his autistic child. The gentleman was living below the poverty line, yet he was happy and grateful for the small amount of services that the Salvation Army could provide him and his family. Before he left my office, he seemed to have thanked me at least six times. His happiness surprised me because his circumstances appeared really grim to me. However, his happiness showed me that by volunteering at the Salvation Army, I was actually meeting the needs of my community and my community was very pleased with the services that I was able to provide them through volunteering. Hopefully, once the visually impaired gentleman and his son left my office they were able to have a gratifying holiday season because the happiness they shared with me made my holiday much more enjoyable.

Lastly, being able to meet the needs of my community has always been an important guiding principle in my life. In the future I aspire to work in a career that allows me to do this because the wholeness I found after meeting the visually impaired gentleman and his child is something I want to experience each day going to and from work.



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