As part of my job I teach along with my boss a seminar (READ: class for leadership credit)called Community Action each semester. The purpose of the class is get students talking about service & leadership. This semester we have restructured the 8 week class with the first 4 weeks being exposure weeks and the last four being action weeks. Here's how the first 4 weeks break down:
1. Personal Definition of Service
2. Strengths & Community- this is a favorite of mine because we talk about not only our strengths and how they play out in community, BUT how those we serve have strengths as well---GOOD DISCUSSION HERE.
3. What about YOUR community? We brought in some folks from the United Way that do community assessment and talked about the SPECIFIC needs of Tarrant County that can be categorized as INCOME, EDUCATION, & HEALTH.
4. Exposure Day and then there is week four, a two hour class.
For this class, we told students that we would be doing an agency visit and tour, but what we DIDN'T tell them was that we would be taking the city bus! Transportation is one of the issues the United Way discussed, so we gave them some route sheets (right and wrong) and gave them some time to figure out how to get there, transfers and all.
The students made some great observations about the experience of regular bus riders and the difficulties in navigating that system. We even learned some things from some fellow passengers. The visit at Catholic Charities was great because the group learned A LOT about refugee services and some global issues. Friends, THIS is why I do what I do. Man, I love seeing people think and learn. What a great day!
I am looking forward to the second half of the semester as we discuss ways to take action and who is already taking action. We are also requiring 3 hours of service with a local agency. I'm hoping students volunteer at Catholic Charities and maybe take the bus a little more and burst that TCU bubble.