“Community Conversations” was an inspiring discussion among people who do work (or are interested) in community engagement on multiple levels and in a variety of areas. It was mostly all students, although there were community partners and other CCP members present. The panelists were: Hamma Awan, Jenna Lam, Buvani Siva and Husna Arif. They all sat in the front of the room and talked about their personal experiences with the work that they do. They not only had great advice for students who want to get involved with nonprofit and community work, but they also said some wonderful things about how to step outside your comfort zone, how to look for opportunities, and how to optimize the skills you possess so that you can apply it in multiple areas of work.
Each table had a facilitator (for the reflection) and students that are currently volunteering in different organizations through the Center for Community Partnerships. There are three projects under Community Action Projects, which are long-term, flexible opportunities for students to get involved with their communities. Just to give a quick rundown of what each project does in case you’re interested: City Adult Learning Centre (CALC) is a secondary school that offers an academic program for students 21 and older. Scihigh is an outreach program that focuses on engaging students from grades 1 to 12 with science. Story Planet is a non-profit organization that empowers children and youth from grades 1-12 in under-resourced communities through creative workshops that include art, writing and digital media. If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved in these projects, check this out! There was also a table at the event called “Other-CCP” for people involved with CCP or interested in being involved. On a personal note, after doing more research out of curiosity, I am very interested in Story Planet and will keep this organization in mind for future volunteer opportunities.
I really liked this event because it was in a smaller space (a classroom) instead of an auditorium or large hall. This way, it felt like I was a part of a conversation instead of a presentation. After the panelists finished the Q and A, they all sat down at our tables and spoke to us one-on-one about what were studying, our interests, and what how our time at UofT was going. A couple of the panelists were UofT alumni themselves, so they had some relevant insights for us about getting involved and making the most out of our time here. Everyone was very friendly and it really helped to have that casual environment during our dinner at the end of the event to talk to the panelists and fellow students about their work and their passions.
Once again, I urge all of you to stay notified of these kinds of events, because they happen at UofT constantly. Check Facebook, CLN, the CCP Calendar, and talk to your peers! I hope this blog has been helping some people out with giving them information or encouraging them to seek opportunities!