Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Self-Reflection Through Alternative Reading Week: Carl

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Jumping for joy!

A couple of very happy ARW2012 Project Leaders!

Being a commuter student and a basement dweller, friendly faces at U of T can sometimes be hard to come by. Despite meeting people in classes, labs, tutorials etc. the interactions are generally shallow and brief. When I first heard about Alternative Reading Week (ARW) last year, I assumed it would be like most of my other university experiences: brief and uninteresting. Due to relentless badgering from a certain Alternative Reading Week Program Assistant (badgering which I now look back upon in appreciation of course!), I decided to give it a shot.

On the first day I was assigned to do outreach for the Jane Street Community Hub which consisted of talking to random passers-by on the street about the services that the hub had to offer. The very thought of randomized social interaction terrified me to the point where I almost immediately regretted my decision. However the experience was quite the opposite. It was actually the most fun I’ve ever had volunteering! It became almost like a game: trying to find ways to entice people to take a moment out of their busy day to stop and have a conversation with me.

Being in the Weston-Mount Dennis community, seeing the landscape, interacting with community citizens, and hearing about its history helped enrich my understanding of what “Toronto” really is. It is very easy in the ivory towers of U of T’s downtown campus to forget that there is more to Toronto than first meets the eye. Over the span of the three days of ARW I saw a side of U of T students that I had never seen before; everyone was talkative, friendly and open. I found myself looking forward to the following days with much enthusiasm.

At the end of the three days I wished it was longer. Even though I approached the entire event with such apprehension, I not only thoroughly enjoyed my time there but also helped out in the community. I ended up hanging out at the Centre for Community Partnerships longer than expected, and I am currently the TDSB Tutors in High School Program Assistant. This whole experience made me realize that in order to get what you want out of U of T (and life) you need to sometimes move outside your comfort zone and search for opportunities yourself. I found what I was looking for, now it’s your turn.

Carl
ARW2013 Project Leader and CCP Work-Study

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Hellllllloooooo U of T students!

Welcome to the Centre for Community Partnerships’ student blog. In case you stumbled across this blog completely by accident and have no idea what the CCP is, it’s an organization on campus which brings together community involvement and student learning, through service with our many community partners.

Centre for Community Partnerships logo

Astericks dude is our logo here at the CCP.

If you’re like every other U of T student swamped with academic concerns and would like to be more involved in the community, we’re here to help you! Who is “we” you ask? Good question! We are D+K, superheroes of the CCP – or maybe we’re just work-study students who decided to be more digitally involved with our fellow students.

So, how do you get involved? We have many different programs to choose from; a couple of examples include working with kids as a tutor with the From 3 to 3 program, or join the Two’s Company initiative at Kensington Gardens where you can volunteer as a dining companion for a senior, or help provide Good, Healthy Food for All while learning about food sustainability as you volunteer at FoodShare. We could go on and on, or you could just click this link to find out more:
http://www.ccp.utoronto.ca/Students/Service-Projects-in-the-Community.htm

There are many ways to get involved, but the point here is never just to find volunteers – it’s to cultivate through our programs socially engaged graduates who care about their community and are willing to do more than just the good old “change your profile picture for a day to help children”. We don’t really think that’s helpful, but maybe that’s just us.

There’s a stereotype around here that U of T students only care about their GPA, but we know better than that. Get involved with the CCP and prove otherwise, be the socially-engaged and helpful citizen that we know you are!

D+K

P.S. Go ahead and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

So, What Are You Doing With Your Life After You Graduate?: Roxanne Wright

Friday, January 11th, 2013

We have a workshop coming up here at the CCP, in conjunction with the Career Centre, called How To Start A Not-For-Profit, on January 15th. My hope in organizing this is partly to help students avoid the classic mistake I see so many setting themselves up to make: namely, the misconception that graduation means getting a ‘real job’ in the ‘real world’ and leaving behind what you truly love, and getting hired at a company to do something for a paycheque.

I’ll never forget what it was like to graduate from my undergrad (I studied Art History) and start looking through the postings on job sites, realizing I had no idea what I was qualified to do. I could write one heck of a good essay, analyze a painting like nobody’s business, and research just about anything. But what did that mean in relation to the jobs I saw posted? What skills did I actually have, and what did it mean to do XYZ role for ABC company? I couldn’t picture what my next step actually looked like, because I hadn’t spent much time during my undergrad really trying to do that.

Navigating success after graduation

What I did know, however, was that I was passionately committed to equity in education, and that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people who found it challenging to function in a regular school setting. Trial and error took me from working where I thought I was supposed to be (a commercial gallery job, which I hated with the red hot fire of a thousand suns), to research in education, to teaching at an alternative high school, to managing tutoring and mentoring programming for a community-based organization, to working in student development and service-learning here at U of T.

For me to find what I really loved meant reconciling myself to the idea that one image I had of my future wasn’t really rooted in reality, and that I had misunderstood what a career really is. After all, a career is essentially the thing you spend more time doing in the week than any other thing. So why on earth would it not be the thing you care most about? Why should you not follow where your real motivation comes from? And if you’re involved now in a student organization or club that’s working to support a cause you believe in, or working to untangle an issue you feel strongly about, why shouldn’t you pursue that when you graduate? There are lots of ways to do this, and starting your own Not-For-Profit organization just might be what allows some students to spend more time in the week doing what they believe in than any other thing.

It’s been so inspiring for me, working in Student Life, to see how many young people are driven by a desire to support, serve and make the world a better place for themselves and others. It’s our goal at the CCP to nurture that desire, and this event is just one way we aim to do that. Hope to see you there.

 

Roxanne Wright
Co-Curricular Service Learning & Student Development Coordinator
Centre for Community Partnerships