As a Program Leader, my job is to get the kids pumped up about reading and writing, manage the group of volunteers in each program, and oversee the program in general. Each program is about eight weeks long. By the end of the program, the kid’s work is put into their very own book (which I have to put together).
Besides Sit Stay Read, I’ve been heavily involved with another nonprofit organization known as Assist Her, Inc. Assist Her, Inc. is an adolescent female empowerment organization that specializes in literacy, prevention, and mentoring programs and workshops within Chicago schools - I am their Social Media Relations Specialist. I run their all of their social media accounts as well as work closely with the Community Relations and Marketing departments.
I can’t really say what I’ve been working on as it will be released in the early spring, but I can say that Assist Her, Inc. has provided me with some amazing opportunities such as meeting authors, CPS officials, politicians, access to VIP events, and most importantly…to be a part of evolving a truly revolutionary group! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.
And finally, the other group that has been keeping my attention is the Unity youth group that I volunteer for. I am one of two sponsors who lead the middle school class (they’re called Uniteens). This year has been a little different as my co-sponsor and I have decided to write our own curriculum about world religion. So on top of writing my thesis and burying my nose in my academic readings, I’ve also had to take on learning about a few other religions, which I find to be really awesome!
Besides co-teaching and co-writing the curriculum for the middle school class, I was also preparing for our 2012 Fall Unitreat! The Fall Unitreat is a three-day retreat that we our group gets to go on to meet up with other Uniteen groups in the Great Lakes Region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky). We focus on the Unity principles, trust activities, spiritual education and guidance, and just having a lot of fun!
These are only some of the activities that I have been involved in recently. I’ve also been attending the GLAM group at IIT, attending comedy shows, traveling to Indiana and Michigan, attending social study groups, and much more! But Shimer College actually has a lot to do with all of the activities I am involved with… specifically by what I’ve gained through their Great Books curriculum, what my Liberal Arts degree will be, and their work field preparation. By using a Great Books curriculum, students at Shimer are taught how to critically read and analyze texts, how to communicate and hold a discussion, and how to facilitate their own learning. And since all of the students here at Shimer are studying “Liberal Arts”, our area of expertise is in a little bit of everything! This gives us all an advantage in anything and everything we do, especially since having a degree in Liberal Arts means that we have both communication and interpersonal skills. What’s more is that these skills are actually sought after by professional organizations and companies. And of course, as a college that uses federal aid, Shimer has a Federal Work Study (FWS) program that can allow qualified students to gain real life work experience that is paid and able to be added to our resumes - both on and off campus!
To me, this is the most important and often most looked-over part of what Shimer College has to offer. A lot of people think, “I can’t do anything with a Liberal Arts degree!” I know I had a couple breakdowns about it my first year here. But I have learned that this is NOT the truth. It is actually BECAUSE of my Great Books education, my soon-to-be BA in Liberal Arts, and my experience with working in both Student Life and the Business Office of Shimer College that I was even considered for my positions at Sit Stay Read or Assist Her, Inc. Not to mention that Shimer’s curriculum taught me how to lead, facilitate, and even write a curriculum for my youth group at Unity. Without Shimer College and what I’ve learned here, I would not be able to say that I am much more than a college student about to graduate… I am in fact a college student who has the necessary skills and experience to lead a purposeful and prosperous life.
Until next time, -L.