First year arts student Brianna Joy Worthington shares her thoughts on Memorial's Service Learning program, part of the university's Career Development and Experiential Learning unit, as part of the Teaching and Learning Community blog.
Volunteering has always been a big influence in my life but once I was introduced to the Service Learning program I began to acknowledge all the students that are uneducated on some of the issues within the community. With a desire to become a social worker some day, I feel that my awareness and ideas can help educate others on the issues in the future. I dream to make the world a community again, one step at a time and Service Learning is a first step.
Service learning is an opportunity to gain a broader perspective on various volunteer opportunities without a long-term commitment. As an individual driven to encourage and educate others about volunteering, I was inspired by this program. People of different degrees are gaining experience as well as getting a better outlook on some of the organizations within our community.
The experiences I’ve had with the Service Learning program have varied from animals to homeless shelters to senior homes. I not only enjoyed seeing people getting out and engaging with their community, but also enjoyed hearing the reflection process afterward. After only one day of volunteering, people had new ideas to help their organizations and gained new friendships along the way.
As a team lead, I gained new experiences, skills and ideas. With a desire to become a social worker, these experiences have helped me to realize some of the issues that need to be assisted but also gained experience in leading and giving awareness of some of the issues within society today. In hope that these students will not only walk away with a new outlook but a motivation to help, to change and encourage.
Personally, I find that communities are deteriorating. People no longer know their neighbours or give a helping hand to people they don’t know and I feel that this is a very important aspect of society as a whole. Through volunteering, I have learned that in order to change this, people first must gain awareness, then communicate. This will eventually change into ambition or a changed outlook overall. For example, if a student doesn’t fully understand Aboriginal Peoples but becomes aware of the issues and are given the opportunity to communicate first hand, it may make them want to change others’ views as well.
So how does this connect to my future?
Although these connections and experiences are educating and inspiring, I find that this program has also helped me to develop connections with my fellow students -- inspiring leaders and committees within the school.
I hope to keep in contact with these organizations so I can keep myself aware of some of the opportunities students can get involved with. In the future I hope to develop a centre for small communities that will collect all my knowledge and give awareness on assistance, support or volunteer opportunities. With this I hope to mainly correspond with those that are unable to meet the basic needs like food, water or support.
I would encourage everyone to take the day and volunteer with a Service Learning program.
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