SAAC In ACCtion: Former Swimming Student-Athlete Remembers Her Time At NC State

Nov. 24, 2010

Giving back to the community has always been an important part of my life. My life has been blessed in so many different ways with my family, friends and different abilities; I always felt it was necessary to share these gifts to others around me. I have always been involved in various aspects of my community growing up and while attending NC State. I was given many opportunities to share my passion for others while at NC State, including teaching swim lessons at the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh and working at the open-door-clinic at Urban Ministries in downtown Raleigh.

So many children in the world grow up being afraid of water because of a lack of basic swimming skills. Some of my teammates and I found a way to use our passion and knowledge of swimming to teach swim lessons to the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh. Once a week, we would travel to the Garner Road YMCA to teach up to 50 children of various swimming abilities how to swim. The experience opened my eyes to the fact that the fear of water keeps so many individuals from ever going to a pool or ocean. The joy from seeing a child swim an entire length of the pool unassisted when they were afraid to jump in the water the first day, will stay with me forever. I did not volunteer to teach the kids how to swim as a checklist for my life, but rather to use the ability I have and hopefully encourage those children to find a passion just as I have for swimming.

As I prepared for my life after graduation and starting pharmacy school, I began volunteering at the open-door clinic at Urban Ministries in downtown Raleigh. Having little pharmacy and medication knowledge before, I figured it would help me in the future during my studies. While my assumption was met, I was overwhelmed with unexplainable feelings of gratitude people felt by the care they received at the open-door-clinic. As my goal in life is to help those less fortunate and promote a healthy medical population, I was able to feel satisfaction knowing the patients could receive needed drugs and education from the clinic.

Now, in the days after my tenure at NC State, I still have the same passion to help others in my community. I will always remember the days I spent with the children from the Boys and Girls Club, encouraging them to blow bubbles and slowly put their entire face in the water. I will also always remember seeing patients walk out of the open-door-clinic with a clear understanding of how to use their medications they otherwise would not have been able to get appropriately and effectively.

- Taryn Shelley