“Life is not about how much you can take from others, but it is about how much you are willing to give others.”
After a difficult childhood and adolescent years, Derrika Hunt chose to attend FSU because it offered her “hope.” As a first generation student, attending college offered her an opportunity to create change in her own life and offered her an opportunity that many of her friends and family members did not have. “FSU provides a rich academic environment and unique resources to help students succeed socially and individually.”
“I can honestly say that during my time here at the Florida State University I have encountered instructors that are genuinely concerned with my academic development and personal success.” Instructors were willing to work with her after personal challenges affected her academic studies. “The instructor that stands out to me the most is my English Instructor Dr. Fleckenstein. She believed in my writing. She helped me share my story through the personal memoir.”
Derrika also learned about herself and the world while studying abroad in Japan. “While studying abroad in Japan, I learned to be appreciative for all of the opportunities I have been given in America. Studying abroad was an incredible opportunity that showed me another part of the world and how other people live.”
She is also dedicated to helping others through community service. This is something her mother instilled in her—”life is not about how much you can take from others, but it is about how much you are willing to give others.” Derrika participated in a number of community service events such as: Make a Difference Tallahassee Site Leader, Jumpstart Corps Member (2 years), Guardian Ad Litem volunteer intern, Children’s Home Society MODEL Mentoring Program, Camp Boggy Creek Family Pal and many other service opportunities through the Center for Leadership and Civic Education.
Derrika, along with Vincella Smith and Sakeena Gohagen also founded an organization, The Movement: Creating Change, after watching a documentary surrounding Hurricane Katrina. “I saw people in need and I knew I had to respond. As a result, my friends and I created The Caring for Katrina Victims Initiative. Through this organization we have collected clothing, food and money to help Hurricane Katrina victims. We cannot forget those that lost their homes, families and hope during this national disaster. Sadly, in 2009 there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. And I will do all that I can to help those Katrina victims to know that they are not forgotten.”
After graduation, Derrika will be spending a few weeks volunteering in Rwanda, a developing African Country. “Florida State has given me the opportunity to give back to my local community and now I would like to extend service to the global community.” Her goal is to eventually open an orphanage for the Invisible Children of Uganda.