Samantha Bissell ’15, Summer Fellowship Reflection Coordinator, took a moment to let us know how the Summer Community Service Fellows are doing:
Every Wednesday evening, I have the pleasure of sharing dinner and conversation with the twelve students taking part in Emmanuel’s Summer Community Service Fellowship. At every dinner, I am impressed by their ability to reflect upon their experiences with such perception, insight, and compassion for those whom they serve.
This summer’s fellows are working at a number of service sites with various missions, ranging from poverty alleviation to adult education to community development. As the Reflection Coordinator for the program, I pose a question to the students each week, and their responses have been remarkable. The fellows reflect on what they observe at their sites and how it moves them to become more deeply involved in social justice efforts.
What is most impressive to me is that as the fellows tell their stories each week, they are always humble, gracious, and thankful for the experiences they are having. They acknowledge that they are just one small piece of the overall solution to the social issues they observe. And despite knowing how much work there is to be done, and how small each action may seem in the face of seemingly insurmountable social issues, they do their part with enthusiasm. Several times, the students have mentioned that they know the most important thing they can do is to contribute their best effort and give their role their full attention and dedication, and that in itself is making a valuable contribution.
Each week, we have a faculty guest who joins the group, and these guests pose thought-provoking questions, share stories, and affirm to the students that they are doing valuable work. In our conversations, the Fellows discuss the connections they are making between their experiences this summer and what hope to do for the rest of their lives. I think I can speak for myself and the faculty guests in saying that I am so eager to see what they do next.