Sunday, September 18, 2016

Service Analysis

As a sophomore this year, I am still amazed that how different the experiences that Loyola gives rather than the experience other Universities offer in the world. I have never encountered a class that combines both academic and service learning as part of a course program. In the following semester, I will have the chance to encounter and express, through literature, the different facets of life in the community of Baltimore. Through the four readings, I find that there is an intertwining relation between it and the the community service that I want to participated in, which is Acts4Youth.

Acts4Youth is an organization that contains numerous mentoring programs to develop the personalities of elementary and middle school students. Just like the situation of the old woman Chloe in Learning to Read, even though she is at her sixties and others are questioning her for being too old to learn, Chloe answers that there is no time to wait and she must continue to learn. Same as the youths in Baltimore nowadays. Some youths maybe fighting against health or emotional problems, some are experience growing and they are just starting to manage adult responsibilities.  These challenges may sometimes affect them personally, socially or even spiritually. As a Jesuit in Baltimore, I am blessed to have a Jesuit education and I am sure that guiding the youths a little bit and actively engaged with them will encourage them to enjoy more into their community life and eventually thrive through their academic careers.

Speaking of mentoring, I got my inspirations from Robert Frost. Robert's poem, Mending Wall, actually shows me how to appreciate your talents while respecting others. In the poem, "Good fences make good neighbours", foreshadows that knowing your boundaries is the key of respecting others. When the youths are growing up, they will start to reach into new waters and adventuring new experiences. Old boundaries will be "worn off" through time and they have to build "new fences". The sentence I like the most in the poem is that the purpose of building a fence is to know "what I was walling in or walling out". The sentence propagates that youths should understand their roles and to extract them and use it as their advantage. Since I was a youth before or I am still a youth, I expect that my experience can give them a good example on how to achieve cura personalis, a journey on becoming a whole.

Volunteering into community service may seems enjoyable. However, sometimes I feel worried about not setting a good example in front of the youths. In the passage of "The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education", Kolvenbach mentions that in the modern age, "the very holy Jesuit was producing the most corrupt citizens in the city". It is good to believe in yourself and be successful, but it is also very easy to cross over the line. It is crucial to balance our own success and helping the others. The key to a Jesuit education is to practice "adult christian responsibility" and carry it out in their community. There is up and downs sometimes and I know the transition to become responsible is hard. People are emotional and sometimes even I will get upset from my immature behaviors. Even though most of the time, I need to find a way to die down my negative motions through negative actions (e.g punching a bean bag until I figure out how stupid I look). However, I got another inspiration from Jill McDonough. In the poem of "Accident, Mass Eve", the plot between two characters ended up rather amusing because both the male and the female are yelling against each other at a car crash that caused no damage at all. The conversation at first heated up quickly but soon turned into an awkward situation. What I did not expect is they ended up hugging each other and laughed. I wonder how did a heated profanity conversation would end up in hugging? I have no idea but it is always good to promote to the youths that difficulties sometimes can ended up in a surprising way and this is what makes everyone special from one another. 

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