Serve Well Blog
Entries tagged 'Integrating Service As A Way Of Life'
Sharing life alongside people with and without developmental disabilities at L'Arche Tahoma Hope Home in Tacoma inspired Lisa Villano '06 to embrace a career in special education.
"It can be easy to under-recognize the significance of cultural differences in the classroom," she shared at the recent Krista Foundation conference. To better understand and support her Native Alaskan students in Fairbanks, Alaska- and to avoid misinterpreting their behaviors- Lisa works hard to understand her own culture and perspective.
"For example, I instinctively expect a student to make eye contact. To me, it shows respect. But in many Native Alaskan cultures, to show respect a child should look away. If I don't know my own cultural tendencies and am not open to other perspectives, I disempower my student." By supporting her students' strengths and needs and equipping them with tools they need to navigate the world, she hopes her students will get the high quality of life that they- and all kids- deserve.
Moving from “small town Podunk Montana” to the University of Portland was “a big shock that blew my socks off” remembers Lindie Burgess ‘11. Setting aside her degree in mechanical engineering to open herself to the homeless community through a year of service at St. André Bessette Catholic Church in downtown Portland made her world even bigger. Today she draws on those experiences as program manager for the UP’s Moreau Center, guiding students through mind- and heart-blowing week to three week long service immersion experiences.
Recently a student summarized her 3-week Social Justice immersion in the South in two words: “It sucked.” Angered by all the injustice she witnessed as she learned about the civil rights movement and talked to contemporary leaders, the student felt burned out, overwhelmed, and alone. Her companions on this intense experience were scattering to summer or post-grad activities.
“Witnessing other folks’ experiences marks us, and she felt that she couldn’t handle any more suffering,” remembers Lindie. Drawing on her own experiences as a Krista Colleague with plenty of space, time, and fellow travelers to mull things over with, she suggested that the girl acknowledge the suffering with friends and others in her network. “Right now it’s too much, but if you create intentional spaces for conversation, it will come out when you allow it to.”
Wearing her “Krista Colleague hat”, Lindie helps UP strengthen structures to support and prepare students for their service experiences. It’s significant work, because a majority of UP undergrads participate in Moreau Center programs. Lindie knows that preparing them to step into service is just the starting point. “There is so much need right now for folks to be accompanied, and so much burnout associated if folks are not accompanied, especially when they return,” says Lindie.
Jaleesa Trapp ’14 is the Coordinator of the Computer Clubhouse, teacher of computer science at Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute, and works with the Tacoma Action Collective (TAC), which focuses on police and media accountability. In December, Jaleesa was involved in TAC’s “Die-In” at the Tacoma Art Museum in December. The protest highlighted the near-total absence of artists of color in the exhibit “Art AIDS America”—even though 44% of new HIV cases and the majority of AIDS deaths take place in the black community. Thanks to meetings with the exhibit curator and museum staff, the Museum will include more black artists when the show travels to Georgia and New York this year, and invest in staff-wide diversity training. Last fall, she spent three months in Ghana as part of a graduate class at the University of Washington.I knew that going to Ghana was going to be life changing, but I didn't expect it to be reaffirming. I went with the University of Washington's School of Informatics to conduct research on information and communication technologies (ICTs). My specific project was to see how teachers use games to teach math (with or without ICTs).
The reaffirming moments were spread throughout my research project. Seeing the disparities in education reminded me all too well of the education system in the U.S. Although I'm blessed to work at an awesome school, there are children all over the country who are deprived of an excellent education, because of where they live. In my research, I looked at how rural and urban schools teach mathematics, specifically if they use games and technology as methods. Many rural schools don't have enough books for students, let alone computers to teach math. I also learned that for most people, teaching is a last resort, extremely underpaid, and is not a respected profession. It was evident which teachers were there because they wanted to be, and which were there because they had no other choice. We met a teacher who took pride in his job and the success of his students. All of the students were smiling, and eager to share what they knew on the chalkboard in front of the class.
One teacher told me that students don't go home and practice their reading or math, and that is why they are all behind. But, as I walked through their village I saw fresh chalk on the side of homes with spelling words and math problems written on them. Students did care about their education, but had a teacher who did not believe in them.
Growing up, I could always tell the difference between those two types of teachers at school, and what type of effect they'd have on my education. This is why I agreed to become a teacher; to make a difference. I wanted to be the teacher that wants to be there and has a positive influence on students learning experience.
There was a school I went to in hopes of meeting with the headmaster to collect data, and the first thing he said to me was "What did you bring me?" Initially I was shocked. Why would he think I brought something? Historically, many Americans and Europeans have come to Ghana to "help" schools by donating, and leaving. The people are left to figure out how to maintain their new inheritances, or how to make the school supplies last the whole school year. A student at the university told me it's not fair if I conduct research and just take it home. This reminded me of my work at the Computer Clubhouse. Knowledge is the only gift I can give that is sustainable. Our motto at the Computer Clubhouse is "Each one, teach one; lifting as we climb." This is important because funding and equipment comes and goes, but the knowledge I'm able to share is forever.
A Heart Full of Grace: commitment to human dignity motivates Nathan Palpant '01 in research, bioethics
Nathan Palpant '01 PhD served with Africa Inland Mission before entering graduate school at the University of Michigan and an academic career. Along with his wife Darien ‘01 and children Clara and Elias, Nathan moved from the Seattle area to St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, where he is Lab Head at the University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience. This profile of Nathan's work appeared in the Krista Foundation's Fall 2015 newsletter.
How do we understand human suffering and human dignity? Nathan Palpant '01 PhD has wrestled with these questions all his life-from his childhood in Kenya, as a Whitworth undergrad, through a service year for the Africa Inland Mission, into graduate school and an academic career.
Recently honored by the International Society for Heart Research, Nathan is a research scientist probing the early developmental stages of the heart to understand potential treatments for heart disease. Last fall, he and his wife Darien ‘01, and children Clara and Elias moved to Australia, where he runs his own laboratory at the University of Queensland.
During his service experience providing medical care in Kenya and in war-torn communities in rural Sudan, "I was trying to engage aspects of the human experience that we in the U.S. are shielded from," he
says. "Coming back was challenging. The Krista Foundation asked the right questions and helped me process the experience."
Equipping young adults like Nathan to embrace and incorporate even difficult lessons into a lifelong ethic of service is central to the Krista Foundation's work. Nathan lives out that ethic in his workplace and daily life by pursuing questions of bioethics in addition to his 9 to 5 research. "I am working to bridge the gap between scientists who don't understand ethics and ethicists who don't understand science," he says. As co-editor of Suffering and Bioethics, published by Oxford University Press, he gathered scholarly voices on the biological, psychological, clinical, religious, and ethical dimensions of suffering.
Suffering has a purpose, Nathan contends. "When it comes to medical interventions, we often wrestle with the dilemma of choosing between the powers we're capable of through medicine and technology versus protecting the moral goods we value in the human experience. These are not always in alignment and are difficult to distinguish or understand." As a heart researcher and bioethicist, he is animating an important conversation that will ultimately help guide us through the quagmire of decisions around biomedicine.
The Krista Foundation is pleased to announce the 2016 KF Annual Conference at Clearwater Lodge on Davis Lake (45 minutes NE of Spokane, WA).
When: Saturday, May 28th, 2016
The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship 2016 Service Leadership Conference explores the theme "ReStorying Us: Crafting Narratives for Change" There are many narratives that define "us" as a community of service leaders, as a community of faith, as diverse and unified humans. Yet there are many cultural narratives that divide us, promote fear, or are unheard or silenced that reinforce (intentionally and not) the twisting of our collective understanding of "us," and "our" story. Hence - "Restorying us." To restory us is to restore us.
This year we will collectively "workshop" our way through a ReStorying Us process and utilize the conference platform to launch ongoing restorying connections in person and virtually after the conference.
2016 Featured Speaker
We welcome Jaleh Sadravi as our featured speaker. She brings a powerful mix of narrative crafting and technical skill from her life as the daughter of an African American Lutheran pastor and a Persian Shiite Muslim, as a service leader, and professional communications and media expert. Together, we'll craft narratives for change. We'll gain new frameworks and tools for shifting perspectives, conversations, and crafting multimedia stories.
What are you waiting for?! Please sign up to take advantage of this special opportunity to connect with and encourage young adults on their journey of service leadership!
Better coffee for you,
Better wages for farmers,
Better leaders for tomorrow
Join the Global Citizen Coffee Circle and you'll nurture a worldwide community of small coffee farmers and young leaders intent on changing the world.
With every delicious cup, you'll help Zoka Coffee's independent growers create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families-and help the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship equip young volunteers with leadership skills equal to the challenges of our times.
As global as Zoka coffees, these young leaders serve from Tacoma and Chicago to Ulan Bator and Tegucigalpa, pursuing long-term, sustainable, game-changing goals.
A service year in Cairo, Egypt working with international students led Stephen Allen '05 to a career with humanitarian aid agencies. A decade later, he coordinates UNICEF's activities in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. Humanitarian work has its dark side, with cynicism and despair close at hand, especially when administrative demands mean little time with Syrians. "It's easy to come to [the refugee] camp, spend a few hours huddled with other humanitarians over cups of strong coffee talking...and then climb back in our SUVs and drive away," he says.
Stephen's antidote: the ethic of service he gained from the Krista Foundation. Instead of working on refugee issues, Stephen seeks to work with refugees to resolve issues: "Spending time with those you are serving and respecting them enough to listen, argue, disagree, and work together. And you can still do it over a strong cup of coffee."
2012 Krista Colleague Mike Davis spends his days equipping youth to use art to process trauma. Read how he's discerning his next step in growing his vision for service.
Because music got Mike Davis ‘12 safely through a rough adolescence, he's passionate about helping young people to engage, create, and communicate through arts and performance.
While serving with Urban Impact in Seattle, he began to see how the arts could go deeper. Many of the middle schoolers he worked with didn't know how to process their pain in a constructive way. Using hip hop, Mike saw firsthand how students could "get stuff out of them and into a song or a spoken word piece." Releasing their feelings through art helped them process trauma.
As well, students found in Mike a mentor who understood where they came from and what they were dealing with at home. As he writes in "Where I am from"
Black mothers that take upon the roles of black fathers,
Fathers that were forced to forsake their own and encouraged not to bother,
Leaving my momma to teach me to tie my tie and fold down my collar,
How come YOU get to and I can't,
From songs I didn't like but was forced to dance,
From, if another cop looks at me that way I'ma...
From, never mind, I'll just avoid that drama.
One day, a girl who had shared her journal with Mike--including an entry that talked of suicide--came to see her counselor. Told that the counselor was out, she asked to meet with Mike instead. You can't, was the reply-Mike is not certified.
"She needed someone, but on paper I wasn't certified to talk with her," Mike remembers.
Stung by the response, Mike enrolled in Bellevue College. But the road to credentials in art therapy would be long. Aiming for a graduate degree would mean "pounding it out for the next 8 to 10 years, doing my prerequisites and transferring to university."
And unlike many students, Mike's full-time studies joined an already long list of responsibilities as a full-time worker, musician, and dad to his 5 year old son.
A year into his studies, Mike began to wonder if this was what God had in mind for him. After wrestling with this question during the January Debriefing and Discernment retreat, Mike is choosing to put school on hold for now.
"I know what art and music did for me as a teen, so I want to connect performing art and visual art to help kids process major or minor trauma," he says. "That's still my vision, but God is calling me to pick another route, and it's slowly making sense."
During his six years in Seattle, Mike has built relationships with many different community organizations. Connected to faith-based and secular nonprofits as well as the public education system, he is well positioned to use the arts to make a difference in the lives of young Seattle residents.
Now a drop-in coordinator for the Seattle Union Gospel Mission's Youth Reachout Center, Mike thinks that the route God has in mind for him might be less traditional. "It's like God is saying, really experience this road instead of the one you would naturally take. I feel like if I am obedient to what God is saying, all these pieces will fall in place."
As part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Claire Smith '12 served domestic violence survivors in Oregon and was an academic assistant at a school on the Crow reservation in Montana. During service, she had many opportunities to build her intercultural competence. The Intercultural Development Inventory helped frame her growth.
Is cheese a staple kitchen ingredient, or a bonus item?
What about nori?
Questions like these peppered the early days of 2012 KF Colleague Claire Smith's life in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Gresham, Oregon.
While all seven housemates seemed to share similar backgrounds at first glance, "many tensions surfaced based around our assumptions and worldviews," she says. "It would have ended up being a tense community with lots of fights if we hadn't all wanted to lean in and figure out the reasons behind our differences."
More opportunities to practice relationship amongst differences arose on the job with Proyecto UNICA/Catholic Charities, where Claire worked with Latina women affected by domestic and sexual violence. And still more practice was called for during in her second Jesuit Volunteer year, while serving as an academic assistant at the Pretty Eagle School on the Crow Indian reservation near Hardin, Montana.
"Throughout all of these experiences, I was lucky to be surrounded by people who were willing to dig in to relationship and speak openly about cultural norms and values, but there were a lot of growing edges, and since the end of service, the Intercultural Development Inventory has helped me frame it."
During her pre-service orientation with the Krista Foundation, Claire took the 50-item inventory for the first time. As the inventory assessed her intercultural competence, it showed a gap between her ideals and her experience.
"I had the right answers in my head," Claire says, "but not a lot of experience living them out. Having to make a home in groups of people from different backgrounds gave me lots of practice, which was reflected when I took the IDI for a second time during the Winter Debriefing and Discernment retreat." The growth in her IDI helped Claire recognize the growth in her cross-cultural fluency and gave her a way of framing her service experiences. "It really helps me look with a clearer lens at where I've been and how I've grown."
Claire hopes to use the IDI tools more consciously in the future. She appreicates the way that it breaks down a person's relationship with cultures, and she sees it as a potential for larger scale development as well. "I think that using it in any group setting or as a facilitation tool would provide some useful shared language around issues that are critical for community, but often difficult to talk about."
Follow Claire's journey across cultures in her "Where I am from" poem, written during the Debriefing and Discernment retreat.
Arts & Culture
Children and Youth
Integrating Service As A Way Of Life
Peace & Reconciliation
Post-Service Term Reflections
Poverty: Urban US & International
Preparing To Serve
Transitions Home & Beyond