Service-Learning (S-L) is a form of experiential learning for students and a teaching tool for faculty that purposefully integrates academics and service or community-engaged projects to meet classroom and community goals throughout the semester. As part of their coursework, students partner with community-based organizations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies as a way to learn the course material.
Here is one of our influential community members who is part of the #CapturingCommunity series.
Name: Julia Barnes-Brown
Role within Service-Learning: S-L Teaching Assistant, CCS Co-op (S-L Program Assistant)
College Affiliation: College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Major: Combined Human Services & International Affairs
How are your values expressed through your community engagement and Service-Learning work?
I’ve had an interest in a vague notion of “helping people” for as long as I can remember. It’s only been recently that my interests have shifted from something in the medical professions to something in education, but I do know I have a keen interest in helping kids learn, whether they’re kindergartners, middle-schoolers or older. My S-L experience with Peace Through Play (as a fresh transfer to NU in 2017) in particular helped confirm both my leaning toward working with the ten-and-under set and my interest in everything surrounding “emotional literacy” as part of kids’ development.
What is one thing everyone should know about Service-Learning?
It’s not as intimidating as it sounds! There are so many S-L courses, and so many ways to participate in service-learning, you’ll definitely find what suits you the best. And if you have any difficulties, you won’t be alone; the S-L professors are incredibly helpful and understanding.
Did you find Service-Learning or did Service-Learning find you?
Service-Learning found me. I had heard about S-L as one of Northeastern’s pillars of learning along with co-op and research, but didn’t know anything about it before I was placed in Lori Gardinier’s Human Services Professions in my first (transfer) semester.
What is your favorite memory of Service-Learning?
Going to Rafael Hernandez School every Friday with Peace Through Play! I worked with 4th graders and had a lot of fun. My favorite memory was teaming up with my co-volunteer and my students to make slime for Halloween– believe it or not, I’d never made slime before, so I had a blast learning how to from the kids. They were very patient teachers!
If Service-Learning were a color, what would it be and why?
Does rainbow count as a color? More seriously, I’d say green. It makes me think of growth– personally, in the community, as you go through college. And it makes me think of fresh, bright things– my first-semester S-L course was definitely an eye-opener!
If Service-Learning were a song, what would it be and why?
This is amazingly cheesy, but I have to go with “With a Little Help From My Friends” by the Beatles. S-L professors and students are a really tight-knit group, and the relationships you can form with community partners are also enriching. Everyone creates a sort of feedback loop of service and collaboration that stays with you throughout your time at college and beyond.
Taken from: S-Log at NU