Participating in JEP will allow me to reflect about the different aspects of education and the community while learning about myself in the process. Service learning will help me develop through the awareness of the community, giving me a deeper understanding about the ethical, legal and moral aspects of service as well as helping me apply my academics to real world scenarios.
In: Other Topics
Submitted By laurentriana
First, I would like to address the awareness of the community that I will gain by working with JEP. Working in the University Park neighborhood will allow me to see the different social and ethnic factors that surround this area of Los Angeles. Although I am local to Los Angeles, the part of Los Angeles I grew up in contrasts in many ways from the University Park neighborhood. I grew up in an area with many residential streets that were safe to roam around even at late hours, where fast food wasn’t readily available, where the crime rate wasn’t high and where diversity wasn’t as culturally sound. By partaking in this service learning project, I will be able to relate and be more sensitive to the type of community that this part of Los Angeles presents. I will also be able to understand the type of environment that the students I am working with are coming from. The environment in which someone grows up in influences the way a person thinks, their beliefs, their morals as well as their ability to overcome obstacles. As I am working in this neighborhood, I will be more aware about how the communities are affected by inequality and policy in this area. As I have already noticed, many of these children are being raised in an area that has many ethnic minorities where the crime rate is relatively high. They are accustomed to seeing police and hearing sirens cruise through their communities. The extent of safety and security these children grew up with is engrained in everything they do as well as the limitations that exist for them to accomplish their goals. The social context of my site will allow me to enhance my understanding about how this type of environment, an environment that is economically disadvantaged, can become a factor for young children to succeed in their academics. This will really allow me to reflect and think about the skills I can bring with me to impact and inspire the students I am tutoring to accomplish anything they aspire to. By helping these children with their studies, I hope to attain a better cultural and social understanding about how the environment can either limit or enhance one’s abilities to succeed. I want to be a role model to these students and show them that no matter where they come from, they all have the potential to excel in anything they wish to as long as they put in the effort.
Since I am taking a health sociology course, I feel that service learning will provide me with greater comprehension about the social determinants of health and how that can play a role in an individual’s behavior. I will also be able to relate how race and stereotypes are socially constructed and be able to apply that while participating in service learning. I feel I am able to experience the most change and development in the awareness of the community and understanding how communities can be affected by that socially because the community I grew up in is very different to the area I will be tutoring at. The topics I have learned in sociology so far have given me a deeper insight to the different social determinants that affect the way people live their lives. I am most concerned about being able to make a change in a student's life since the context they grew up in is so different from mine. Although, I am most excited to interact with the students and help them grasp the material they’re learning as well as apply what I am learning to the different social contexts I will be surrounded by.
Overall, service learning with JEP will be an enriching and wonderful experience for me especially working with underserved communities. Working with this group will really allow me to see the different social barriers as well as other various social aspects that influence each individual student’s behavior’s and upbringing.