Center for Citizenship and Community

What will I learn from the ICR experience?

Independence
"This boy had a lot of patience… If I were in the same situation, I hope I would handle myself the same way." ~ show more

Brittany Foerg '13, biology

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Mentoring and learning from students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI)

For course: FYS 102-The Enduring Quest for Community

Favorite activity: Being appreciated for who she is by students at the ISBVI

An "Aha!" moment: Independence

I arrived early at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) last week and was waiting in the parking lot for the Butler students to come.

While sitting in my car, I heard a few taps on metal. I turned around and saw a high school boy walking around at the end of the parking lot. He was tapping his cane along the edge of the lot and retracing his steps.  I realized he was trying to find a sidewalk. I thought about getting out of my car to help, but having heard numerous ISBVI staff members talk about independence, I decided to stay in my car and watch to make sure he found his way. 

He would walk ten or so steps, realize he was by a car or a sign, and then turn around and start over. He would walk into the grass a few steps and all along the edge of the pavement, but he could not seem to find a sidewalk. After a while, he made up his mind to go to the other end of the parking lot, where he easily found a sidewalk that led to the elementary school.

This boy had a lot of patience. He kept calm and continued trying no matter how many times he found himself right back at the sign. He was outside by himself, obviously unsure of where he was, yet he still managed to find his way to a sidewalk. If I were in the same situation, I hope I would handle myself the same way.

Understanding
"Working with Alma and watching her grow was what really made my service-learning experience so remarkable." ~ show more

Nikki Green '15, pre-med/biology

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Getting to know children in English as a second language

For course: Service Learning in Spanish

Favorite activity: Translating homework and helping the kids read books

An "Aha!" moment: Understanding

When I first enrolled in "Service Learning in Spanish," I thought I would just be helping Spanish-speaking kids with their homework.  I quickly learned, however, that tutoring was only the bare bones of my service-learning experience.

I tutored a 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 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 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, I came to know her more as 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 service-learning experience so remarkable. My significant connection with her is what made all the difference between just a semester's experience and life-long learning.

Listening
"To him, hope meant a deliverance from a refugee camp three years ago. Hope meant finding a new home and new opportunities in the United States that he might not have had otherwise. Hope meant being thankful for life." ~ 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: Listening

For nine months, I worked with a Burmese high school student who had lived in a Thai refugee camp and who had taught himself art by drawing in the dirt with a stick. 

Three years ago, this student and his family immigrated to the United States, and he was thrown into the American school system as a fourteen-year-old boy.  With little time to adjust, he found himself lost, confused, and completely isolated.  At one point, he was kicked out of school, and he tried to take his own life.

However, at the end of nine months, I did not see the same student. Instead, I saw a young man who, on one of our last days together, drew a picture entitled "Hope."  This picture, he explained, defined what hope meant to him.  To him, hope meant a deliverance from a refugee camp three years ago.  Hope meant finding a new home and new opportunities in the United States that he might not have had otherwise.  Hope meant being thankful for life. 

Such experiences as these are what lead me to believe in the work the Center for Citizenship and Community does and the meaningful, powerful reciprocal relationships that result.

Laser Tag
"This past week, I went with three Butler students to a laser tag event with students from the Indiana School of the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI). It ended up being a ton of fun." ~ show more

Brittany Foerg '13, biology

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Mentoring and learning from students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI)

For course: FYS 102-The Enduring Quest for Community

Favorite activity: Being appreciated for who she is by students at the ISBVI

An "Aha!" moment: Laser tag

This past week, I went with three Butler students to a laser tag event with students from the Indiana School of the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI).  It ended up being a ton of fun.

Beforehand, one of the Butler students expressed some confusion, because he didn't think the ISBVI kids could play laser tag. However, as he quickly learned, the ISBVI students were more than ready for and capable of action.

Only two out of twelve students needed assistance. I helped a girl by holding her cane, warning her of stairs, helping her down them, and shielding her from the laser rays. Other than that, she could see the flashing lights on the vests of our opponents and had lots of hits.

I think events like these give service-learning students greater perspective outside the classroom. All three of the Butler students left knowing the blind and visually impaired can do plenty of things that sighted people can, and they can have just as much fun doing them.

Eager to Read
"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.