#CapturingCommunity: Action for Boston Community Development and Connections & Decisions

By Service-Learning Program Assistant & Co-op Asta MacKie

This December, as a continuation of our #CapturingCommunity series, we’re highlighting the partnership between the Service-Learning course Connections & Decisions and the community organization Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) by speaking to some of it’s key players.  Read on to see how Service-Learning student Liz Gmoser, S-LTA Allegra Mangione, faculty member Lynn Dornink, and Operations Manager of South End Neighborhood Service Center for ABCD Robert Wheeler all contributed to the student learning goals and the needs of the community partner to create a successful Service-Learning relationship this fall.

ABCD
Source: Action for Boston Community Development – Our Misison and Who We Are
CD
Source: Northeastern University Course Catalog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Liz Gmoserliz.jpeg

Role within Service-Learning: Service-Learning Student in Connections & Decisions (and Math, Magic, Puzzles, & Games)

How did you become involved in Service-Learning?

I was given the option to enroll in a Service-Learning section of my Freshman Seminar when choosing my classes for the Fall semester, and it seemed like a good option and cool way to get involved in the Boston community.

How does your position at Action for Boston Community Development contribute to their greater mission, and how do you feel yourself making a difference?

As an intern, I help wherever I am needed, which includes sorting and bagging food in the food pantry, organizing and updating client files in the online database, and working at the front desk to greet and assist clients and answer any questions. I help take some of the load off of the other members of the ABCD team, and I feel that I am making a difference because actually interacting with clients, hearing their stories, and offering assistance in any way that I can makes me realize how important ABCD and its mission is.

What have you learned from Service-Learning?

I have learned much more about the surrounding Boston community than I had known before beginning my Service-Learning position. My eyes have been opened to the cultures and ideologies of the local population, and I have grown to appreciate organizations like ABCD for what they strive to do for the people who rely on them.

If Service-Learning were a holiday dish, what would it be and why?

If Service-Learning were a holiday dish, it would most likely be a plate of Christmas cookies. Each experience that students have is different, much like the different types of holiday cookies, but each one is unique and offers its own flavor and style. And while some people are more partial to some than others, everyone can find a Service-Learning opportunity that suits them and their values, and allows them to feel like they are making a difference in their community.

 

Name: Allegra Mangione

Role within Service-Learning: Service-Learning Team Manager and Service-Learning Teaching Assistant for Connections & Decisions (and The Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy, & Social Changeallegra

How did you become involved in Service-Learning?

I took the service-learning section of Connections and Decisions when I came into the NU Explore program as an undeclared student four years ago! I did my service with Strong Women, Strong Girls. I have been hooked on service-learning ever since!

How do you see the relationship between Connections & Decisions course and Action for Boston Community Development meeting both the student learning goals and the needs of the community partner? How does your role contribute to this?

I’ve worked with ABCD before and I always think that it provides a really unique opportunity to first year students looking to explore their major options. It provides them with experience working as an intern and in an office the very first semester of their freshman year. For ABCD, they get a volunteer who consistently comes in every week for the semester with an eager attitude ready to contribute to the community. In my S-LTA role, I am able to facilitate the relationship between ABCD and Explore Program students.

What have you learned from Service-Learning?

Through service-learning I have been lucky to learn about vibrant Boston communities and their strengths. I feel so lucky to have been welcomed into community organizations as a student, and to be able to facilitate these types of relationships for my students.

If Service-Learning were a holiday dish, what would it be and why?

It would be stuffing! Lots of ingredients that somehow taste delicious when you put them all together 🙂

 

Name: Robert Wheeler

Role within Service-Learning: Operations Manager of South End Neighborhood Service Center – Action for Boston Community Development robert.jpg

How did you become involved in Service-Learning?

The ABCD South End Neighborhood Service Center has gladly maintained a partnership with Northeastern for multiple years.

How do you see yourself and your organization contributing to the learning goals of the students you host?

As a partner organization, we strive to provide an internship experience that allows Northeastern interns to grow personally and professionally. Being in the South End, we hope that students develop a stronger connection and understanding of Boston, while supporting our organization in providing services to Boston residents.

What have you learned from Service-Learning?

I have learned how truly important and valuable intern/student support can be to a partner organization. This partnership has allowed our organization to grow in the services we provide and the amount of people we serve.

If Service-Learning were a holiday dish, what would it be and why?

Service-Learning is like Lasagna. A bunch of great ingredients come together and become a great final product.

 

Name: Lynn Dornink

Role within Service-Learning: Director of the General Studies Program and faculty member for Service-Learning course Connections & Decisionslynn

How did you become involved in Service-Learning?

I wanted to teach a section of Service-Learning that was being offered. I like the students who self-select into these sections.

How do you see the relationship between the Connections & Decisions course and Action for Boston Community Development meeting both the student learning goals and the needs of the community partner? How does your role contribute to this?

The experience helped the student gain additional insight into her interests and values and to see how a non-profit organization worked. Along with the Service-Learning TA, I provided a forum for reflection on what the experience meant to the student. The value of service can sometimes be elusive to students when they don’t see a direct cause-effect in how it may help them choose a major.  For example, my job was to help them see how their service experience is a piece in the process of finding their path.

What have you learned from Service-Learning?

I have learned about Boston neighborhoods, become more sensitive to the nature of economic inequity, and learned about organizational structure.

If Service-Learning were a holiday dish, what would it be and why?

Goulash–a casserole full of varied ingredients that’s hearty, inexpensive, and good for you!

 

Like what you read? Check out our #CapturingCommunity series on the S-LOG to read more on the different members of our S-L network.

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