Published: Monday, 30 Jan 2017
Author: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean
Service learning is an essential part of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. Community engagement helps scholars network with people and organizations outside of the university and, as kinesiology major, Eustace Akagha stated, "The experiences are a great introduction to the life of service that is being expected from us Scholars." The Scholars recently gathered to reflect on their service learning experiences throughout the year.
One group of Scholars volunteered at the Hunter Park Gardenhouse for the Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing where they assisted with maintenance of the garden. "The greatest lesson I took away is the importance of selflessness and how strenuous work is oddly fun, especially if you're working with an awesome bunch of people," said economics major Astley Siwela. Eustace Akagha added, "The learning experience I gained developed me further as a person, and I was also able to contribute meaningfully to the group as we carried out our gardening duties."
After volunteering at the Wexford Montessori Middle School, a group of Scholars talked about the lessons they learned about teamwork and time management taking care to note the importance of soft skills such as asking questions and thanking the hosts when volunteering. At the Nyaka Orphans Project headquarters in East Lansing, another group of Scholars was impressed to learn about the financial importance of volunteerism and donation campaigns for non-profit organizations. They indicated that successful management of volunteers and fundraising is something that could be replicated on their own "give back" projects in Africa.
Other Scholars served at diverse locations such as Haven House, STEM Day of Service, Oak Park YMCA, Greater Lansing Food Bank, and Reach Studio Art Center.