Winter term at Portland State University is coming to an end, and it is my time to reflect on how much I’ve learned from being part of the community-based learning classes (Enhancing Youth Literacy & Youth Enrichment) that I am fortunate to teach. In honor of the good work my students have done all term and what they have to share, I’m dedicating this week to their words and final reflections in the hope that they will inspire you, readers, as they have inspired me. Thank you, Lindsay, for being willing to share your work here (her words are in teal below):
As this volunteering is petering out I’m realizing that I really just started to feel comfortable in my placement! I really was enjoying working with the youth at the GED completion program and it’s a little sad for me to think about leaving. In class we discussed ways for regular people to get active within the education system and I really liked a lot of the things that we all had to say about it. If I were to write a “being active” prescription for the most inactive of people I would say to start with these two steps:
- I think that being aware of what is going on in the community around you is the first and most important step for any citizen of any city. There is no way that anyone can make a difference in the policies and system if they are not aware of what the issues are in the first place.
- Secondly I think it is important that every member of our community votes. (The prerequisite to voting is being educated about the policies and acts being voted on) There is so much work done by our representatives and senators and WE are the ones who put them in office. Therefore, I think that the simple act of voting is a great help to our education system!
After these two steps are complete, you have already made a difference in your community! The next step is to find an area that interests you and find out how to help. If you are good at fund raising, volunteer for that and not tree planting. If you are interested in after school crafts,. volunteer for that rather than grant writing.
This is another opportunity to give out information for the Hands on Portland website that easily gives us all the opportunity to search for the perfect short- or long-term volunteer opportunity. This is a simple way to get started!