For the Kids: Community Based Learning Courses

At the core of our Jesuit identity is service. At its most basic level, service is the practice of helping others. This can take so many different forms in different places and circumstances. From my experience, however, service is a duty we must fulfill given that we have gifts, skills, and passions to help others. As a Holy Cross student, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to study. When I figure out what I am meant to do in this world I will consider three things: What do I love? What am I good at? What does the world need me to do? 

That last question grounds my identity as a woman for others. Whatever we put out in this world, whether we see explicit effects or not, is affecting our world. And so, why should we not make the world a better place from it? Even if it is a small deed, it still has a meaningful impact, even if it does not have a massive change. This blog post goes out to the skeptics who claim that smaller deeds of service, like the ones I will describe here, are meaningless. Here goes nothing. 

For the most part, the Holy Cross community practices what it preaches. They take this value so seriously, some courses have a required Community Based Learning (CBL) component alongside course material. At a quick glance, this CBL component is not seen to be merely a requirement for the course, but it should enhance the course’s material aims and goals.

I have taken two CBL courses: Kings & Caliphs: Art of Luxury and Introduction to Greek 1 and 2. I already wrote about my experience in the first course, so be sure to check that out! Right now, I’ll give you the rundown on a more hands on CBL experience with my Introduction to Greek classes.

In the fall semester, we had a CBL section of the class which focused on creating a project for the Worcester Art Museum to work on. My group created an interactive pyxis, a jewelry-type box out of materials we had at school. We were able to create a fun and enriching experience for anyone who would use our pyxis, both younger students and older ones. 

In the spring semester, we completed an exciting project which included going to Worcester East Middle School and teaching a lesson on the Ancient Athenian Legal System. After weeks of planning and outlining our lesson plans, our groups split up into pairs and we had the opportunity to teach our lesson to 7th grade students. Overall, the students seemed like they were engaged and learned something new about Ancient Athens and American Democracy. I would love to go into specifics, so feel free to reach out!

From a service learning perspective, this one day of teaching did not transform the kids. But, what is important to get out of this experience is that we showed up for them. Service, regardless of its size, is something that I will defend until the end of time. Let’s make sure we show up and understand what the world needs us to do today. 

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