Week 3

The third week working at Growing Hope went really well. I was able to participate in a raised bed build in Ypsilanti for a family who was having a hard time paying for necessities while taking care of their 12 year-old son who was born with muscular dystrophy. With experience in farming for several years, the father believed that he could grow a significant amount of food out of the four-by-four raised beds being installed.  While we were working to fill the raised beds with compost, he shared some advice with us on getting a degree from college that will allow you to provide for family in the event that something happens. We were able to hear his perspective on what it takes to remain successful in a career, and I thought about how much the advice that he was giving to use could be used to benefit some of the older kids or young adults in the neighborhood, or perhaps a non-profit organization that could use his expertise in starting a business to help adults interested in the same thing. Service learning allows the same thing to happen: partnering with a  community organization, students can find ways to be useful to a non-profit by simply listening to what the needs are in the community, and being able to watch for strengths within the community that can help involve the community on a deeper level with what the non-profit has identified as areas of outreach. As a student, listening objectively can be the most important skill when it comes to creating something within the community: rsome of the best experts on things being done in the community are living right in the neighborhood.

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