Putting Faces to the Term “Community”

When I first arrived at Mount Wachusett Community College, I knew I was helping to create a service-learning class, however, I didn’t know that I would have the opportunity and the autonomy to hit the road and visit over 15 not for profit organizations in the central Massachusetts area. Not only was I welcomed into the offices of these places in order to see for myself how they operate and serve the community, but I was able to meet people who relied on these organizations for assistance and personal development.

Putting a face, or many faces, to the generalized term “community” made my work as a VISTA that much more important and satisfying. I was able to see the immense impact that non-profits and volunteers have on the broader area of Massachusetts. I also realized that there isn’t a lot of awareness about these organizations on the Mount Wachusett campus. While the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement is working to bring attention to the importance of these necessary resources, it is still a work in progress. That’s where ISC 220, the Community Learning capstone class that I am helping bring to fruition, comes in.

This required capstone will bring roughly anywhere from 100 to 200 Mount Wachusett students into the heart of their community, in order to open their eyes to the importance of community service. Once a week, the students will be in the classroom with a professor who will design a curriculum around community service and volunteerism, and then once a week, the students will go to the organization they chose to serve at the beginning of the semester. My hope, and the Center’s hope, is that this class will bring college students on a large scale into the community to make a meaningful impact. I also hope that my work as a VISTA will create a closer relationship between the college students here, and all of the wonderful organizations that serve the people they love, so that the resources that are available will spread farther than they ever have before.

 

Annie Stevens

MACC AmeriCorps*VISTA

Mount Wachusett Community College

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