By Megan Fowler
Street Team member Megan Fowler chatted with Cynthia Wilkerson, program manager at Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly to learn more about the organization and its partnership with Service-Learning at Northeastern. LBFE has partnered with courses like Community Learning.
What does your organization do?
Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly works with Boston residents ages 70 and over who have, for the most part, low income or fixed income and who are often lonely or isolated. We strive to work on strategies to prevent isolation as well as connecting elders with each other and their community.
How did you get involved with Service-Learning at Northeastern?
We’ve had a relationship with Northeastern and we have a relationship with Service-Learning at Boston College. There was a leadership position available and the program was changing – we were looking at gaps in our program. One open opportunity was to embrace doing more with service-learning and civic engagement. We’ve focused resources on developing that aspect of the program and it’s been really fruitful. It’s really helping us to reimagine some of the work that we do. Working with Northeastern has given us a template for ways to work with other institutions with a service-learning component.
Have you worked with the Service-Learning students directly?
I have and it’s been just fabulous. We’ve had some exceptional students and some even more exceptional students. I’m very impressed by the students: their reliability, pro-activeness and engagement. I’m also impressed with in some ways their bravery, to just get to the service and start doing it.
Do you have any advice for future Service-Learning students?
I would say just to bring your best self, be open and have a good time!
What is your favorite part about working at Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly?
We get to be creative and use our imaginations and work with elders, which I love. More and more we’ve been working with students and all of our wonderful volunteers and it’s been great.