By Adrianna Graziano
Ever since joining the Northeastern community, I have been an active participant in community service: first, exploring S-L my first semester in Professor Begley’s Inquiries in Cell and Molecular Biology course, then serving with the Americorps program Jumpstart, and now working as an S-L TA. After being an S-L student, the opportunity to become an S-L TA was expected to be an exciting and challenging experience as I imagined myself helping my students navigate through their service throughout the Boston community. However, it’s been an interesting journey discovering exactly where I fit within all of this.
Active, direct service provides the server with a close connection to the people and community they help. But, as a TA with four community partners, I’ve had to adjust to this change. Since it’s my students, and not myself, directly working within the community, where is my connection to them? How involved am I, actually? What is my role in my community?
After reflecting, I realized our roles as S-L TAs makes us more involved than ever: we know our community partners, we know their expectations of our students, we know their goals, we know how busy their schedules are when we try to reach out, and we know the amazing service all of our students are doing. Each week, I sit down and read the blogs my students write, all of them proud of the kids they’re teaching at USES and Citizen Schools. Each week, they come up with the most interesting activities that get the kids excited and interested in science. We all had those teachers or student mentors who lit the spark that pushed us towards what we’re pursuing now in college, and to know that my students are providing younger children with that is something I am proud and grateful for.
The implications our education can have on our community are vast, and what we do for our community and what they do for us reaches farther than just a direct service. A play can’t operate without their crew, and S-L can’t operate without TAs behind the scenes, running around, coordinating each meeting, setting each expectation, and checking in to make sure things are running smoothly. I am a direct asset to my community. I am impacting change through my students, and I am so proud to be an S-L TA.