Emmanuel Students Participate in Summer Community Service Programs
August 23, 2012
New York native Isaiah Mulligan '12 was searching for something productive to do with his summer in Boston. Through his former resident director, he connected with Emmanuel's Associate Director of Community Service and Service Learning Deirdre Bradley-Turner, who, in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Director of Fellowships Dr. Laurie Johnston, was looking for students to take part in a new summer service fellowship. Mulligan was placed in the stabilization department at St. Ambrose Family Shelter in Dorchester, which provides support for homeless families in transition. He conducted research on prospective housing developments, attended housing meetings and connected with families that had since left the shelter to make sure they were doing well on their own. Mulligan described the experience as "rewarding" and enjoyed seeing his hard work result in new hope for the shelter's residents.
"I had multiple occasions where I saw families move out of the shelter and it made me feel great about myself," Mulligan said. "I helped make a difference for the lives of families and it made me appreciate everything I have, even the little things people take for granted."
Mulligan was one of four students participating in the inaugural Community Service Summer Fellowship Program, co-sponsored by Emmanuel's Center for Mission & Spirituality and the Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership. The program provided on-campus housing, a stipend, a monthly T pass and meal tickets to the Emmanuel dining hall. Bradley-Turner hopes the program will grow in the coming years and sees the opportunity as a way for Emmanuel students to gain meaningful work experience that also benefits the College's community partners who need volunteers throughout the summer.
Theater major Anna Boutin '13 was also selected for the Community Service Summer Fellowship Program. She worked part-time with the Notre Dame Montessori Pre-School in Dorchester, playing theater games with the students as a way of introducing them to the theater.
"I wanted to do something bigger than myself for the summer, something that would give back to the community and involve my love for theater as much as possible," she said.
Boutin said her students' favorite game was "Mystery Bag," during which she offered them a pillowcase filled with different items. The kids would pull out an item and invent a new purpose for it; books became walls and blocks changed into snakes and trains.
"It was definitely a challenging experience," Boutin said. "I had never worked in early-childhood [education] before, but it was very rewarding and a great opportunity to stay in Boston this summer and give back."
Jonathan Edmond '15 and Aida Zapata '12 rounded out the four students receiving Summer Community Service Fellowships. Edmond carried out a full-time, independent project focused on promoting the importance of college education and technology literacy among inner-city youth in Boston. This project will build on his past experience working with the Hyde Square Task Force and with Mel King at the South End Technology Center. Zapata served at Sociedad Latina, a nonprofit organization in Roxbury that works with Latino youths.
Justin Cowles '12 also spent his summer serving the Greater Boston area, through an internship with the Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership. Cowles worked as the Public Information Intern at ABCD Parker Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Service Center in Roxbury, a nonprofit organization that empower individuals to become self-reliant and make better decisions for themselves, their families and their communities. While Cowles was initially just looking for a summer position that allowed him to gain work experience in Boston, the prospect of helping the residents of Mission Hill was an added bonus.
"When I found out that the position included a service aspect and an additional opportunity to be able to help others in need, I knew this was a way I could really enjoy spending my time," Cowles said.
Cowles served as the eyes and ears of the organization, photographing and documenting the events that occurred in house, and presented the information to the ABCD community through pamphlets and monthly newsletters, which he was also responsible for creating.
The Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership was established in 2004 and is supported by a generous grant from the Yawkey Foundation. The Center is dedicated to developing service opportunities and leadership skills for Emmanuel students and providing programs for young people in Boston area schools and community organizations.