Tiffany Chou

Florence, Italy


As the Vice President of Community Service of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at Keene State College, I am very passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community as well as others.

I find it extremely rewarding to help out and make a difference in another person’s life. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be something small, such as making someone’s day and making them smile.

I love to volunteer because it’s not about what you give, but what you get in return. In situations where there once may have been despair, words cannot express the gift of seeing that despair replaced with hope.

Volunteering will always be the biggest part of who I am as a person.

Contributed Photo: Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo, a tourist attraction in Florence, Italy.

Contributed Photo: Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo, a tourist attraction in Florence, Italy.

Since I’m studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the fall 2013 semester, I’m missing all of the community service events that are happening in Keene and in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS).

It was my first time volunteering in Europe, and it was quite an experience.

I received an email from my advisor telling me about a volunteer opportunity from professor Luca Zoccadelli, the Lorenzo de Medici coordinator for volunteer service and cultural exchange.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, the center of Florence was filled with Fondazione “Angeli del Bello” (Angels of Beauty Foundation), which is an association of about 1,500 volunteers that care about historic architecture, monuments and the city’s general living environment.

It aims to reduce urban deterioration in Florence.

Together with other Italian volunteers, we worked to remove unauthorized posters, erase writings and graffiti from walls and repaint them in the area of San Lorenzo.

All volunteers were given vests, gloves, brushes and proper tools to do the job. The purpose is to show people how important it is to love and take care of Florence.

We want to bring awareness to everyone in our community.

I absolutely love Florence, but I don’t appreciate the defacing graffiti that is sprayed on the walls of the buildings.

Florence is a city of historical monuments, even though some of its most valuable assets are being destroyed by the pollution of bad graffiti.

I admire the beautiful art on the walls of Florence, but I think there is a fine line between illegal marking and public paintings.

I’m definitely all about covering the illegal marking that is on the walls of Florence.

Most of the defacing and ugly graffiti makes Florence look degraded and is primarily found around the train stations and more industrial areas, but can also be found in every corner of the historic center.

Alleyways and small streets have been tagged multiple times, covering large, wooden doors.

While we painted over the bad graffiti right by the area of the San Lorenzo market, many people stopped and looked at what we were doing.

They told us that we were doing a good job and one of the sellers in the market thanked us for devoting our time to take care of the city.

Honestly, it reminded me why I love to do community service. Being able to have the opportunity to volunteer in the beautiful city of Florence made me feel alive again.

It made me realize why volunteering is one of my true passions in life. I felt that spark, and it was an amazing feeling.

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