#CapturingCommunity: James Ayton

By S-L Street Team Member Salil Khanna

Name: James Ayton

Role in Service-Learning: Service-Learning TA

College: College of Engineering

Major/Program of Study & Minor: Mechanical Engineering

How are your values expressed through your community engagement and Service-Learning work?

The community engagement that I perform is through the university, with it largely being centered on service-learning. For example, last semester I was a service-learning mentor for the Beachmont Veterans Memorial School. This semester, I am an Service-Learning Teaching Assistant for the same community partner, hoping to further my Service-Learning relationship with them. The Service-Learning that I do now is an extension of a service that I did at high school: working with ESL students at the local elementary school. Central to my core ideals is working with children, no matter the community that I’m in. I enjoy working with children for the fact that they are open and creative, as well as have a great capacity for growth. I believe that through my community engagement, I am able to support children in a greater fashion.

What is one thing everyone should know about Service-Learning?

I think that it is less about what you should know about Service-Learning but rather more about how we should feel about Service-Learning. Service helps us commit ourselves to the people around us. Service in a community will likely teach someone more than if they learn in the classroom. Not only does service happen in the classroom, but service is always happening. Northeastern University presents a wonderful opportunity for being able to engage in service-learning and learn through a community.

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

I would say Service-Learning is an all you can eat buffet. There is no one kind of service: no end to how much you can get out of it or how much you can put into it.

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