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Michelle Lozano Dr. Patrick Green UNIV 291 11 Dec.

2012 Final Reflection My experience in the Community-based Research course and partnership with Taller de Jose was one unlike any other. Never in my lifetime have I participated in collaboration with an organization, let alone one that offers services to a community so familiar to me like Taller does. This semester working with Taller de Jose and my group to complete a project was fulfilling, eye-opening, and surreal. It is a distinct experience when you work with an organization very closely and learn why they are there, what they do, and why they do it in comparison to a day of service with a group of friends. Overall, my community experience helped develop my understanding of what the community of Little Village needs, and communities similar to it. In addition to developing this understanding, it also opened my eyes to the roles I can fulfill in helping out communities around my area. It has always seemed so far-fetched to me that volunteering locally would make a difference, but after my community-based research project and research with Taller de Jose, I see that anyone can make a positive difference on a small scale that assists in the larger scale of what the organization aims to achieve. In Research Methods for Social Change, by Randy Stoecker, a model is presented called The Project-Based Research Cycle. In this cycle, I believe our role as a group was to evaluate whether the desired change is occurring. Specifically, our role was collecting and evaluating

data that represented the satisfaction and measured outcomes of each client when leaving their consultation at Taller de Jose. The analyzing of data, which was the majority of our project, served as the evaluation the organization needed to see if their desired outcomes were being achieved. In the future, they can continue to diagnose, prescribe, implement, and evaluate once again to initiate a change in the community. According to the article Learning through Service by Cress et. al, service learning is where students engage in community service activities with intentional academic and learning goals and opportunities for reflection that connect to their academic disciplines(Cress et. al). This was clear from the beginning of the course and stayed true throughout the semester. Not only were we working hands on in the field of research with our community partner, we also brought it home, to campus, and reflected on what it meant to us. This is important in service learning because it is a multi-dimensional way of participating in service. Connecting service on a personal level through reflection and connecting it to academics was a unique way of understanding our impact on the community and impact on ourselves. In the reading, the author explains that service learning classes are geared to prepare college students to be citizens of the future and to contribute to society. I believe this is exactly what the course accomplished to the students within the class. This may have been one of few, or one of many service opportunities students have been involved with, but it certainly left a big impact by making it integrated in our daily academic life. This way, it was not a separate entity, such as summer service, thus making it stick with every student. By doing so, students in the course carry this experience beyond college

which enables to be good neighbors in connecting with communities. The reading quotes my favorite President, John F. Kennedy Jr. when stating: As not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country. This quote is what the service-learning class helps us to understand; what can we do for our community? It is our duty as citizens to be accountable for the welfare of others. It is our duty to be good global citizens, even when the problems seem too big. Our impact on on the community may seem small, but without the help of people like us, the job would not be accomplished. At the beginning of the semester, I was in the position of having previous service experience, but not understanding how much of a duty as a citizen it was. In my high school, service work was just to meet a quota of hours in order to graduate, most of which done in non-impacting ways like assisting ones former middle school with their volleyball practices. While these activities were meaningful to the younger students, there was not much being done to influence the community in regards to social change, or ones self in being ministers of change. It was not until I started school at Loyola and volunteering for Loyola4Chicago, at Centro Romero, that I truly began to realize what kind of an impact I wanted to make in regards to service. Assisting in teaching English to Spanish speaking adults was life changing in itself, and led me down different avenues of service thereafter. The following semester, I served as a tutor in a high need charter school during their after school program. Working with a variety of age groups (from adults to children) really showed me my strength of being versatile, thus developing my sense of self in positions of leadership and service. After the Community-based Research course, Ive developed

even further my sense of leadership and have truly defined what service means to me. Specifically, I believe Ive identified what kind of service I want to be a part of, what kind I dont, and so on. As stated previously, Ive furthered my understanding of what it means to be a college student in the realm of service. The reason for this change from beginning to end of the semester is due to the reflection aspect of our class, and the proximity in which we worked with our community partner. My understanding of service from when I was in high school was minimal and not fully developed. Through reflection, readings from the Stoecker text, additional excerpts, and actually working weekly with an organization, my understanding has blossomed and will continue to expand in further years. In the Social Change Model of Leadership, the three values that are recognized are Group, Individual, and Society/Community Values. Of those, I relate closely to the Individual Values: Consciousness of Self Congruence Commitment. Of the seven Cs, consciousness of self means being aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action. I believe Ive developed this aspect, as long as the other two values of the Social Change Model, in my time at Taller de Jose and in this course. Ive grown as a leader by recognizing my ability to make change. Leaders do not always have to initiate change, such as Taller de Jose did as an organization. Leaders can be formed by learning from others, acknowledging their power as a resource, and participating in small acts of kindness that go out of the way of their regular routine. Upon completing this course, the aspect of individual consciousness and commitment has resonated with me and has been reflected in my role as Urban Issues Learning Community Coordi-

nator and as a student at Loyola in general. By recognizing my commitment, beliefs, values and attitude toward service and the well-being of others, I initiated a Labre Ministry outing for the community, and led in prayer to each homeless individual we provided food for. In addition, I collected left over blankets to provide as well. On this trip, I realized it was not the act of actually putting this event together that was service, nor was it physically being out in the cold with those who are cold in the streets. Rather, it was motivating others to recognize the suffering of others and to take part in something greater than themselves and greater than Loyola that was the true act of service. This represents the Group Value aspect of the Social Change Model of Leadership.

In regards to professional skills development in our community-based research, I believe this experience was a stepping stone, or beginning of real research in a community setting. Working closely with the community partner, specifically the Associate Director and Director of the organization gave me an insight that is rarely available to volunteers or undergrad researchers. This insight consisted of how the organization worked, how it started, and what their plans for the future were. In addition, I participated hands-on in the sense that I administered a survey in spanish to one of the clients. This experience, although minimal in comparison to the 240+ surveys administered, was an experience that most researchers who analyze data would not normally have exposure to. In an interview, I would explain that through my research at Taller de Jose, I learned how to work with a community partner, was exposed to a local community in high need,

and was able to initiate research and analyzing data that will remain as the organizations measurement of progress for years to come. In reference to the Social Change Wheel, I believe community-based research exists as part of the continuum of engagement. The entire wheel consists of eight parts: Direct Service, Community/Economic Development, Voting/Formal Political Activities, Direct Action Strategies, Grass-roots Political Activity Public Policy Work, Community Building, Advocacy through Community Education and Socially Responsible Daily Behavior. The reason I believe the project and course exists as a part of this wheel is because it is a part of a domino effect. Communitybased research can be considered as the part of Direct Service. To many, this may the only thing that comes to mind when service is mentioned, however a continuum exists that takes service further on an individual level and community level. For example, my participation in the direct service part of this wheel has further developed my understanding of service, motivating me to be socially responsible in daily behavior--another part of the wheel. Being more socially responsible by shipping at stores that give back to communities, for example, may then initiate my participation in voting for politicians that promote social change--another part of the wheel. Service does not start and end when you finish doing a day of service. This work exists on a continuum that may affect an individual and community stemming from one part of the wheel. My shift in consciousness has been due to my involvement at Taller de Jose, and participation in the class over the span of the semester. My raised awareness of ability to make social change has triggered my new thinking about service. I believe that before this semester, I under-

stood what service was, but not in relation to me and how I could take part in social change. As the semester comes to a close and having the experience with a community partner, Ive connected my individual strengths and learned how a college student can make an impact on an entire community, both directly and indirectly. While my awareness of communities in need has remained the same, I believe that my understanding of what can be done to help has been raised. According to the Jesuit mission that Loyola stands by, seeking God in all things and working to expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith directly intersects with my experience in the Univ class and community project at Taller de Jose. This intersection is evident in my expansion of knowledge of service and my role in it, which was done through the learning in the class setting and on-site at Taller de Jose. Closely resembling the Jesuit mission is the mission of the Congregation of St. Joseph--of which sponsors Taller de Jose-- That all may be one. I believe that these two are so closely connected because Loyola wishes to create students who will one day be advocates of social change that will participate in equality and promote justice for all. In the same realm, Taller de Jose wishes to have a community that has all the opportunities available to them, so that all may walk together in the hands of God.