Did you find Service-Learning or did Service-Learning find you?
Service-Learning found me…then found me again…and seems to continue finding me in really meaningful ways. My introduction to the practice was in an English course that I took at community college. At the time I wasn’t aware that it even had a name, much less a whole field behind it, but being out in the community felt like a great way to connect with others and ground some of the more theoretical work we were doing in practice. Later in my college career, once I got to Northeastern, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the university’s Service-Learning Program in several capacities; Program Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Team Manager, and Research Associate. These experiences helped expand my understanding of what Service-Learning is and how it can provide benefit to all of the stakeholders involved. Currently, I work for an organization called Camp Harbor View, which got its beginnings as a day camp, but has since begun a school-year program for teens. For the past 3 semesters we have had students from the Human Services Professions course join our community and provide homework help, an introduction to American Sign Language, essay assistance, college and scholarship advice, and much much more for our young people. Being a community partner feels like coming full circle for me in a lot of ways and I am glad that I am able to continue my involvement with Service-Learning and share it with others in the community.
What is your favorite memory of Service-Learning?
I would say my favorite memory of Service-Learning is more a collection of memories. There are so many amazing moments that happen in the classroom and out in the community where connections are made, seeds are planted, and ideas are born for students, facilitators, and community members alike. For me it is what happens after these experiences are over that is truly inspiring. Times when I have seen an undeclared student decide on a major based on the work they did at their Service-Learning placement, ran into a former student-volunteer who is now interning with another youth-serving organization, continuing to be active in the community, or witnessed a teen decide that college is a path they could pursue.
If Service-Learning were an animal, what would it be and why?
A panda bear…because everyone likes panda bears!