#CapturingCommunity Colleen Holohan

Role within service-learning: Director of Massachusetts Promise Fellowship

Did you find service-learning or did service-learning find you? 

I’d say service-learning and I found each other simultaneously! After starting work in the Center of Community Service at the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship, I quickly realized that service-learning could play a great role in building the capacity of our program. I’ve since had the privilege of working with some incredible students on projects focused on our program’s recruitment strategies and our website.

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

When engaging in service-learning, the learning goes both ways! I’ve been able to gain a tremendous amount of knowledge from the students I’ve worked with and they’ve been able to learn about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a small, but mighty statewide AmeriCorps program. I found the students I’ve worked with to be so impressive in terms of their knowledge and professionalism and working with them has always been a treat. Our program has also greatly benefited from the products of their work by way of an innovative Fellow recruitment plan and a brand new website!

How are your values expressed through your community engagement and service-learning work?

Building relationships is something I truly value and believe plays a crucial role in community engagement work. Getting to know someone by learning about their background, experience, and interests is the first step in bringing people together and supporting them in understanding differences. I believe we all have a lot of work to do around dismantling stereotypes and building relationships is the first step.

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