Cheree Stauffer is a Winthrop University Close Scholar serving as an intern at Hospice & Community Care. The idea that drives the Close Scholars program is that service is vital to the complete education of college students because future leaders have a civic responsibility (Winthrop University, 2019). As Cheree explains, it is an honor to be chosen. “The Close Scholarship is a scholarship that provides funding for students who are willing to volunteer during the college experience. I grew up in a very volunteer-centered home, so I applied for the scholarship. Out of over 100 applicants, I was honored to be among the nine freshmen chosen.”
“It was actually through the Close Scholar program that I learned of the opportunity to intern with Hospice. The head of the Close Scholar program at Winthrop, Meghan Baggerly, referred me to Hospice and Jennifer Graham. I was a healthcare management major, and I thought that interning with Hospice & Community Care would be a good fit. I wanted to get involved volunteering in Rock Hill since it is my new home as a Winthrop student. It has been amazing working with Hospice.”
According to Cheree, she was thrilled to recently learn that she had been selected for yet another honor, a Winthrop Peer Mentor. “My new role at Winthrop will be as a Peer Mentor. As part of the Peer Mentor program, we teach a course that every first-year student is required to take during their first semester. It is called ACAD, and as part of the curriculum, I will pair with a teacher, and I will teach the students in that class. In essence, I will walk the students through their freshman year and help get them involved in campus. I will meet with them for one on one meetings, and, hopefully, help them transition to their new home. During this course, I will have the opportunity to share how I transitioned to life at Winthrop.”
“Volunteering for me is realizing that there are other people who in this world don’t have as much as you do. There will always be someone who needs help. For me, it is learning that I should be grateful for what I have, and in turn, that creates a spirit to help others. I like to do that in my local community because these are people I am around and who I can help. I can use my resources, as small as they might be, to impact people’s lives positively,” said Cheree. “Everyone should be cared about and should be loved. I grew up in a very Christian, gospel-centered home, and learned early about reaching others and touching lives.”
Cheree has some exciting goals. “My dream is to be the CEO of a hospital. That is a really big dream, but in the short-term, I would like to be part of management at a hospital or a hospice. As a leader, you have to be willing to listen to everyone. Part of that comes back to volunteering because volunteering teaches you to be a good leader. Because if you are not willing to serve, then you will not be a good leader.”