The Difference Community Makes

A few years ago, I asked the students in the Aim 4 community leadership program to write down three ways they are different because of their community experiences and three ways community is different because they engaged. As I was searching for notes to use at this afternoon’s Aim 4 meeting, I found the students’ responses. Most of them have graduated now, and I am curious to know how community continues to change them and vice versa. But for now, amidst spreadsheets, outlines, and logistics, looking at just a few of their responses really reminded me of the why of what I do.

A blurry but beloved picture of some Aim 4 graduated students.

A blurry but beloved picture of some Aim 4 graduated students.

How I Am Different

  • I learned to prioritize community.
  • I make more ethical decisions.
  • I know more about poverty in Williamsburg.
  • I think more about community and connect it to what I have learned in class.
  • I’m more aware of pitfalls of ineffective service.
  • I’ve changed my life goals.
  • I am comfortable with reflection and can help others reflect on their service.
  • I have developed a stronger voice.
  • I think about diversity differently now that I have worked across difference.
  • I consider the sustainability of my actions.
  • I am more organized.
  • I better understand my strengths.
  • I seek out support from community.
  • I am more confident.

How My Communities Are Different

  • My mentee knows someone believes he can succeed.
  • My family, especially my younger brother, benefit more from my development as a youth role model.
  • Students on my alternative break trip are more passionate about the issue because of my leadership.
  • My friends are more informed about Williamsburg because I share what I learn with them.
  • The students in my program are more knowledgeable about education equity because I shared my experiences.
  • The K-12 students I worked with had consistent homework help.
  • My service organization now incorporates training and issue education.
  • Children working with CASA received gift bags.
  • My community is more informed about health care options.
  • College tutors are better trained on working in diverse classrooms.
Categories: Campus Life, Community Engagement & Service, Diversity, Faculty & Staff Blogs, Williamsburg

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