Diversity and Democracy

Building Bridges as a Civic Ambassador

As a Connect2Complete civic ambassador, I help build bridges between classroom and community so students can connect what they are learning in college to their personal lives. Each semester, I work closely with students and faculty in developmental education courses to make these connections, which help students retain information while giving them a chance to better their community.

In the classroom, I support the instructor's needs and help answer students' questions. I try to make the classroom a stress-free environment and to empower students to make a difference, not only within themselves but also within their communities. I may also assist the instructor in selecting a community partner whose needs fit what students are learning in the classroom and coordinate service-learning trips with the community partner, freeing time for the instructor to focus on helping individual students.

This semester, I am working with a developmental education math instructor who requires students to participate in a group community service project with the Toledo Seagate Food Bank (which sources our campus food bank). In conjunction with the service project, students complete related math assignments and a reflection journal about their service-learning experiences. This partnership helps students become better community leaders and build confidence to obtain their goals.

Finally, my civic ambassador peers and I run the Owens Harvest Food Pantry and Community Garden. Every two weeks, I help pick up the campus food bank's order from the Toledo Seagate Food Bank and work with civic ambassadors and volunteers (mostly pantry patrons who are students themselves) to stock the shelves.

Seeing how the Harvest Project affects student patrons makes every second of my time as a civic ambassador worthwhile. In order to obtain their goals, students need to be able to focus without being distracted by the simple need for food. Every little bit helps, and every day I am grateful to be a part of my fellow students' success.

Christina Perry is a double major in international studies and world languages at Owens Community College.

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