Over the past year in english class, we took a step back from the community that we thought we knew and tried to look at it with a different perspective. It was through this that we were challenged to consider how a specific place truly influences a person. It was an interesting task to take part in an activity that I normally wouldn’t think twice about, but instead take the time to examine it deeper. For my first community response I chose to use the JDRF walk that happens annually, not only here in Lincoln, but also all over the US. I participated in the walk the year previous and I knew a little bit about it ahead of time so I figured it would be a good fit for the assignment at hand. Through talking to some of the people during the walk I learned a lot about what it means to them to be a part of this community. You can see how I was able to capture their emotions and excitement in the journal article I wrote. All of the people involved know that this walk really makes a difference for someone they care about. The community comes together and people are left with memories that will last a lifetime. It was through this that I learned that to be influenced by your community, it doesn’t just have to be a specific place, it can more simply be the people around you that leave an impact.
That being said, there are several places that I visited around town as parts of my other community experiences. The one that stuck out to me the most was Gianna’s Gelato, located on O street. As soon as I walked in the doors, the Italian history was abundant but somehow I felt at home. There were picture frames lined across the wall of stories from a past time and decorations that reflected the culture from across the sea. It was obvious that there was a piece of Italy right in the middle of Lincoln Nebraska. I felt like the best way to illustrate what I experienced was through several small poems. In this way I hope to bring the community that instantly felt like home to others as well. I strongly encourage you to take a step out of your comfort zone and see what community you truly live in. There are bits and pieces of all kinds of different communities all around you, you just have to take the time to discover them.
With all the time we spent time looking at the community around us, the problems those communities were facing also became very evident. Even in our own community of Lincoln Lutheran, there is an element of separation that keeps the middle school distant from the high school. For our research paper I looked at the idea of Mentorship in School Transition. I was interested in seeing what I can do to help build relationships between the two groups of students. For our senior action project I then used that research and devised a plan to collaborate our high school AP group with a middle school access and have a “get to know you” time. A lot of the students said they really enjoyed the activity and the opportunity to learn about the different grades. The high schoolers were able to pass on some of their knowledge to the middle schoolers and give them an insight on how to be successful when actually making the transition between grades. Lots of laughs were shared as students shared fun memories with each other. Seeing how just one small interaction opened the doorway for relationships I am leaving behind an action plan for future groups of students to continue this activity. I hope and pray that it develops into something that can be beneficial to all students and teachers involved.