Getting involved in the communities where I live has always been important to me. This is particularly true as an educator, for I often see students and staff move to a town for years and never truly engage with the surrounding community. That distinction between "town and gown" has never sat well with me, so I make efforts to participate in and give back to the places I call home. While my service portfolio will always be somewhat incomplete due to ongoing service efforts or a lack of media artifacts, I do hope to highlight some of the events, projects, and causes that have been near and dear to my heart. In the future, I also hope to include links where those who are interested can contribute and support these efforts.
SLPS BACK-TO-SCHOOL FAIR
In 2012, I helped to organize a large back-to-school fair for immigrant and refugee families in St. Louis, which I did in partnership with the Nahed Chapman New American Academy. This event brought together nearly 100 volunteers and provided hundreds of people with information, translators, food, school supplies, and entertainment. The event was organized as an alternative to the larger back-to-school fair held for all St. Louis Public Schools, which regularly brought in over 50,000 people and made it easy for immigrants and refugees to get lost. Below you will find a slideshow of select photos from this event.
From 2013-2015, I organized a number of group projects in partnership with EnergyCare, an organization that helps to weatherize homes in St. Louis for elderly and low-income families. I brought together campus organizations and local congregations to travel throughout the area weatherizing homes to help keep energy costs low and vulnerable communities safe during the winter. Below you will find a slideshow of select photos from these events.
WASHINGTON U. IN ST. LOUIS
From 2009-2016, I participated in a range of service projects through Washington University in St. Louis—many with the goal not only of giving back to the community, but also helping students to connect with St. Louis on a deeper level. These activities included advising Relay for Life and coordinating an annual event for hundreds of participants, working with the Community Service Office to bring first-year students out to local elementary schools to assist with clean-up, painting, and yard work, donating bone marrow through the university chapter of Be the Match, and taking students to local restaurants and other businesses to support local communities. For these and other efforts, I was honored with a Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award in 2013. Below you will find a slideshow of select photos from these events.