The Spirit of Service

December 06, 2011

Holiday FunFest
A buddy shares the spirit of the season at Holiday FunFest.


Often the smallest moments can be the most significant. When William Glass (Class of 2014) was asked to be a Holiday FunFest buddy last year, he was a little hesitant. Knee-deep in end of term assignments and swimming in deadlines, the international relations major was a little academically preoccupied to say the least. But he joined in the festive fun all the same and ended up having an experience he’ll never forget.

For more than a decade, Rollins has hosted Holiday FunFest, inviting foster children from One Hope United, Devereux and Children’s Home Society in Central Florida to spend the evening on the Rollins campus participating in games, arts, crafts and other holiday festivities. Volunteers, like Glass, participate by being a buddy for the day, in which they’re individually paired up with a child for an evening of undeniable holiday cheer.

Glass met his buddy Connor at the beginning of the evening and asked him which festive activities he wanted to participate in. “All he wanted to do was ride the elevator,” Glass recalled. “So we did. We rode it all night long. It made me realize that these kids are in such different situations than I was growing up. It’s the simple things that are so enjoyable for them. It reminded me of how often we take the small things for granted.”

There was something about little Connor that lit a spark in Glass. Back in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, he had not done a lot of service work. “My high school required just five hours a year,” said Glass. “But here at Rollins, we are exposed to the call for service so much more. As freshmen we start serving right away and immediately get the sense of the sort of difference we can make. It’s no longer about the quantity of hours; it’s about the quality of the impact.”

Connor and Holiday FunFest had such a positive impact on Glass that he joined the planning efforts for this year’s event, which takes place Wednesday, December 7. “I think that during this time of year we are all supposed to be happy and joyful,” said Glass. “But these kids are going through really tough times. I know this is crunch-time for us, but this event can actually make life less stressful. It helps us step back and get perspective, and it gives us the opportunity to do something potentially life-changing for someone else.”

With his role in planning and logistics, Glass will unlikely be a buddy at this year’s event, but he’s still hoping on running into Connor again. And if he does, he’d be glad to take him for a few elevator rides.


By Kristen Manieri

Office of Marketing & Communications
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