#CapturingCommunity Benjamin Saint-Fort



Role within service-learning: Tutor with 826 Boston

Service-Learning course: ENGW1111

Did you find service-learning or did service-learning find you? Describe how you entered this community.

Service-Learning found me. I went to class on the first day and learned that I would be doing service for my English class.

What is one thing everyone should know about service-learning?

Service-Learning helps you put all the skills you learned and those you are currently learning in class into good use through real world application.

Tell a story that describes your experiences of community within service-learning

I had a very interesting first time volunteering for service-learning. It all started with waking up bright and early to take the bus. I went to get breakfast all alone. I was unsure who else had the same volunteer shift as me but I was determined to make my only available time for the month a success.

I waited for the bus for 25 minutes before it actually came. In that time, I debated numerous times with myself whether or not I should just take an Uber there. Seconds before the bus arrived, Daniel arrived and I was no longer alone. I was glad to have someone else with the same volunteer time as me.

Daniel and I took the bus for 30 minutes and arrived at 8:05. We were both unsure what we signed up to do.

As we entered the school, Daniel and I looked for someone to direct us where to sign in. I looked at the metal detectors and the security officers and wondered. Now, I knew I was small and looked very young, so I purposely wore a Northeastern hat so no one would have any doubts who I was.

I was wrong! After Daniel walked through, the security guards started questioning me asking me why I was late to school. I had to politely reply that I was volunteering and kept walking.

Already feeling a drop in my mood, I walked into the Writer’s Room, which is where we would be tutoring. Daniel and I sat at different tables. Everyone sitting at my table was very tall, and it felt like I was sitting at a table of giants. 

The head of the Writer’s Room quieted the class and incorrectly stated that only one tutor had arrived. I was still wearing my Northeastern hat. She asked Daniel to introduce himself and I just sat there feeling super awkward and embarrassed.

Then, the head of the writer’s room handed me a paper asking me to brainstorm college essay prompts. I laughed in my head knowing that I was already in college.

So, a minute later, the teacher of the class comes to me and asks me : “are you new to this school?”.

I replied that I was also a tutor and that I understand that my size does not really say “tutor”. She felt embarrassed and had the head of the writer’s room introduce me.

Following that experience, volunteering has been fun because I get to see the impact I have on kids only a year or two younger than me.

Photo and interviw by Liza Ashley

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