It All Started Long Ago...

by Dr. Velda Arnaud

My commitment to service goes back to my youth. I was raised in a rural community with my maternal grandparents playing a huge role in my upbringing. In those days, you helped neighbors as a common courtesy, and likewise, they helped you.

One major event of my youth was the Columbus Day storm, which tore up buildings and trailers. It took two days for my grandfather to get home from town, and during that time, the women did everything: taking care of the cattle, dealing with destruction, and moving equipment, cattle, and property to avoid the flood. (I recall watching the highest water I had ever seen through the cracks in the back porch. The creek had been several feet away, but it was flowing under the porch.)

In my elementary school days, I was involved in youth organizations, I took on leadership roles when needed, and I volunteered when I became an adult. It has always made sense to me to help out those who have needs. My perspective is not shared by everyone, of course, but I know there is a large community that holds similar beliefs.

My vision

Through my years of working with amazing coworkers and incredible students, I have seen people do so many wonderful things. I was involved with an international organization when suddenly my position was taken from me. Nevertheless, I wanted to continue helping other people achieve their goals (and perhaps even beyond what he or she imagined). Here are the things I have dreamt:

  • Designing something that could keep the connections going while still allowing for our independent growth.
  • Setting up a leadership institute where many of us voluntarily share our knowledge with others through educational activities.
  • Having some type of global service.
  • Going to unknown places on a leadership tour. (In 2013, I accomplished that, and now I want to continue.)

All of these dreams were never meant to make me monetarily wealthy, but there is something in my heart that has continued to resonate that this vision has meaning. My students have inspired me, and through them, the vision of LESS came to me.

The mission of LESS is to encourage people to make a commitment to developing their knowledge and skills while also giving back to others through educational activities and service.

Build your skills while helping others.

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My inspiration, my Grama, Estella Mae Southmayd:


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Last updated 4/26/2024