Susan: This is Susan Nisly and I'm collecting another Mennonite Mission Network alumni story, so my guest today is going to introduce herself and tell us her name and where she served, and with what program.
Dana: My name is Dana Tolle and I was in Boulder doing Mennonite Voluntary Service in 2006-2007. And I served at Imagine. And I was working with kids and adults with developmental disabilities out in the community doing recreation therapy.
Oh, cool, OK. How did your service experience impact your life journey?
So, my VS year really did impact what I went on to do and as a career path. I graduated from college the year before, had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and had said, "Hey, I just want to work with kids, OK?" And they said, "How about kids with disabilities?" And I said, "Yes!" Because I didn't know anything about that. And so went on to, um, work in this recreation therapy program where we did bowling and swimming and we made arts and crafts and we did dances and Edward Scissorhands, the ballet, coolest thing I've ever seen.
I didn't know that was the thing.
Yeah, it sure is.
OK—very nice, very good.
So, we got to do that. But it really opened the door to, um, my future. And now I'm at currently an occupational therapist, and I work with kids with special needs every day. So, I had no idea before that.
That I wanted to be in that field. And that's really where it's …
So you were, you had graduated from college with a degree in?
In chemistry, OK. And then after this, you realized?
That I wanted to, um, work with kids with disabilities. And then through a few other things figured out that occupational therapy was for me, but definitely I give credit, all the credit, to VS for helping me figure it out.
Wonderful! That's awesome. If you could give advice to someone who's going to do voluntary service, what would you tell them?
I would just tell them to be open. Because it's never going to look quite how you think because nothing ever does, but to be willing to be open for those potential life-changing nudges, like one that I got.
Because if I wasn't open to that, I would be doing something totally different. But I am doing definitely what God has for me and, and I'm glad that I was willing to take the risks to do it, to do the volunteer experience, to be open and willing to experience everything when I was there, to take advantage of my opportunities. And so that's why I would, I would definitely recommend.
OK, thank you very much!
Yes, thank you.