Center for Citizenship and Community

What will I do in ICR classes?

Listening and storytelling
"Butler students and Northview students alike were sharing story after story about their individual lives openly without even realizing it." ~ show more

Alex Tallentire '13, political science 

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Building bonds with refugees at Northview Middle School and First Baptist Church

For course: Introduction to International Politics and Political Science Research Methods

Favorite activity: Learning about himself through working with others 

An "Aha!" moment: Building Trust through Stories

We piloted an activity called the "Life Stories Game" at Northview Middle School.  Service-learning students and middle schoolers are placed in small groups, and a deck of cards is placed in front of each group.  Each card has a different question, ranging from "Tell about a time you couldn't stop laughing" to "Tell about the first memory you have as a child."  I was initially worried the middle school students would not take interest in this game, but this activity was an absolute hit.  Butler students and Northview students alike were openly sharing story after story about their individual lives without even realizing it.  This amount of openness that resulted from the game was quite powerful and really built trust.  We had more laughter on Monday than we have had all semester!

Play and dancing
"I saw him walking hand-in-hand with Bella, who led him all over the room in search of books. A genuine smile was spread across his face." ~ show more

Audrey Gleason '15, pre-physician assistant 

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Mentoring and learning from children at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC)

For course: Physician Assistant Project

Favorite activity: Dancing around like crazy with kids and Butler students during KYC's Fun and Fit sessions.

An "Aha!" moment: Ready for chaos?

A new Butler student was at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center yesterday.  

I could tell he felt uncomfortable, and as more children arrived,he seemed more and more like a lost puppy.  Finally, when homework was completed and the volunteer was left stranded, I walked over to him, asking if he was "ready for chaos." 

His reply sounded far from confident, but he followed me to the back room where the children were doing their "Fun and Fit" program and dancing around like crazy. I left him there and returned to my own duties.

After ten minutes, I ventured to the back room and found him dancing with the children.  When I visited again a while later, he was playing "Duck, Duck, Goose".  Finally, I saw him walking hand-in-hand with Bella, who led him all over the room in search of books.  A genuine smile was spread across his face.

I did not have a chance to see or speak with him again before he left, but from what I saw, he had developed a meaningful relationship with the children as fellow human beings and friends.  He had been as affected by the children as the children were by him, and that connection is what always makes service-learning worthwhile.

Empathizing
"It was wonderful knowing that they valued me being there, but it felt even better knowing that I had the privilege to be a part of their community and their hearts." ~ show more

Mandy Thomlinson '15, science technology and society

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Working with and learning from clients of A Caring Place, a day care facility for elderly individuals with dementia and physical impairments

For course: Health Disparities

Favorite activity: "Clients welcoming me each week and asking me how school is going."

An "Aha!" moment: Autumn Leaves

I was sitting with a client cutting out pictures for a craft project. She mentioned how she admired the autumn leaves on the tree outside the window. I said I did too.

She began to cry and wouldn't respond. I worried that she was frustrated with the craft or with me, so I got her some tissues and said that we didn't have to do the craft if it upset her.

She stopped crying and mentioned the leaves again in the exact same phrase. I recognized this as part of her dementia, so I continued to talk about the tree as if we hadn't already recognized their beauty.

She repeated herself a lot, and apologized for crying. I said it was no problem, and that I enjoyed talking with her.

When she calmed down, she said that she sometimes feels lost in her head and sad that she can't do anything about it. Then she thanked me for taking the time to talk with her.

From that day forward, I wanted to do everything I could to help these clients have a great experience. It was wonderful knowing that they valued me being there, but it felt even better knowing that I had the privilege to be a part of their community and their hearts.

Connecting across difference
"I realized that my punctuality was not what the kids cared about. What they cared about was that I and other Butler students were there and that we were there for them." ~ show more

Alex Tallentire '13, political science

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Building bonds with refugees at Northview Middle School and First Baptist Church

For course: Introduction to International Politics and Political Science Research Methods

Favorite activity: Learning about himself through working with others

An "Aha!" moment:  A warm welcome

One day, I was scheduled to be on site at both Northview Elementary School and the First Baptist Church. Both sites offer English as a New Language (ENL) instruction to immigrants and refugees around the city.

I arrived first at Northview.  I was about fifteen minutes late and was anxious.  Upon my arrival, though, I was greeted with a hug and a warm welcome from six students. Without skipping a beat, one student exclaimed, "Pull up a chair and join the group.  We need some help with this homework!" Another smiled and stated, "I was worried since you weren't here at 4:15 like every other week."  I realized that my punctuality was not what the kids cared about.  What they cared about was that I and other Butler students were there and that we were there for them.

The night continued at the First Baptist Church, where I worked with a sixteen-year-old Burmese refugee who wanted help with reading.  We ended up having a fifty-minute conversation about his life, his struggles, and his passions (we discovered we shared a similar interest and difficulty in learning to play the guitar).  While we worked on reading for only ten minutes that day, I was humbled by how much he opened up to me.  It just goes to show that, if we weren't there to listen, we would miss out so much in connecting with other people.

Travel the world
"We made maracas, ate nachos, and danced to ‘La Bamba.’ " ~ show more

Janelle Jordan '13, political science

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Working with and learning from children at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center

For course: Ancient and Medieval Political Thought

Favorite activity: Helping other Butler Students get involved

An "Aha!" moment: Fiesta!

We began our cultural events last week with Mexico. On Monday, the kids all made tissue-paper flowers and began reading books about Mexico. I wasn't sure how the week would go until Que, who hates to read, came to the backroom to tell me, "Miss Janelle, I know a new way to say 'Christmas': Feliz Navidad!" The children were all very excited to finish their homework so they could help make the tissue-paper flowers.

On Friday, we held our fiesta. We made maracas, ate nachos, and danced to 'La Bamba.' Then, I gave a brief presentation about Mexico, and the kids got to smash the four piñatas they had made on Wednesday. That was probably their favorite part. After the fiesta, I had six children ask if we could do it again every week and four parents tell me they loved the idea. Butler students helped with the decorations, the craft, the food, and crowd control. They also helped ensure the kids were reading books about Mexico throughout the week. The kids can't wait to learn about Italy next week.

Connect with others
"When I first enrolled in "Service Learning in Spanish," I thought I would just be helping Spanish-speaking kids with their homework." ~ show more

Nikki Greene '15, Biological Sciences, Chemistry

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement (service-learning requirements) by: tutoring children in English as a second language

For course: Service-learning in Spanish

An "Aha!" moment: Eager to read

When I first enrolled in "Service-learning in Spanish," I thought I would just be helping Spanish-speaking kids with their homework.

I tutored a young second-grade girl named Alma. Alma was not doing well academically, and she barely spoke a word of English. After only one session with her, though, I discovered Alma was quite a bright girl and knew the answer to every question I asked. The only reason her grades were poor was because she could not understand the teacher.

When I had first met her, the language barrier had also isolated her so much that she would sit at the back of the classroom and would only talk with another Spanish-speaking student. However, working week after week with Alma, her English improved and her confidence increased. By the end of the semester, she was eagerly speaking, interacting with others, and participating in class.

Working with Alma and watching her grow was what really made my overall service-learning experience so remarkable. I was able to witness the powerful impact of service-learning while developing a deeper attachment with another person.

Working and learning from others
"Connections like these are what make the opportunities with service-learning and the KYC so extraordinarily meaningful" ~ show more

Janelle Jordan '13, political science

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Working with and learning from children at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center

For course: Ancient and Medieval Political Thought

Favorite activity: Helping other Butler Students get involved

An "Aha!" moment: Eager to read

At the Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC), Q, one of the kindergartners, has become quite attached to a new Butler student.  Whenever this student arrives, Q always grabs her hand and leads her over to his table, excited to tell her all about his day while she assists him with his homework. Once they finish, Q leads the student to the couch, where they read a whole book. Q is only just learning how to read and often tries to avoid it.  However, since this new student has begun working at the center, Q reads whole books with her, even if it exceeds the required twenty minutes.

Relationships like this are a testament to just how integral service-learning is to the KYC. Months after service hours have been completed, children will often ask about the Butler students.  Some Butler students will even continue their work at the KYC long after their requirements are met. Connections like these are what make the opportunities with service-learning and the KYC so extraordinarily meaningful.