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.
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.