I have learned so much about community work and what it entails this summer. I have evolved in the number of things I learned this summer. Just to mention one of the many things I learned, I went on several walkthroughs for the house that WND is renovating and I learned a lot about house renovation. While this might not apply to a future career of mine, I think it’ll be useful when I go to buy a house and I can ask about subflooring, if I can build a second floor due to zoning codes, and whether the hardwood floors are able to be refinished. My expectations of this summer were that I could learn about a different field of work and get out of my comfort zone in terms of what I’ve spent studying thus far in college. My expectations were wildly exceeded. Not only did I get to observe and even do some of my own work for the Woodbridge community in designing and distributing a survey, but I’ve met so many inspirational people along the way. The community members that I have gotten to know have passion about preserving their neighborhood, and I was moved by their dedication to inclusion. I had fun getting to learn the people in the community, how everyone knew each other, and had a role.
It wasn’t all smiles and rainbows though because there were still a lot of obstacles this summer, a lot of things that I didn’t know how to do, but I can’t say thank you enough to the people I worked with. They gave me high expectations, yet all the while still allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. They challenged me to think about WHY you’re doing something rather than how long it will take. I have learned so much from what they have both shared with me, but more importantly what they have shown me. Every day these women seek to include everyone and lift their community, and I think that might be the most encouraging undertaking I’ve seen.
Moreover, I think my opinions have changed in that I have broadened my horizons for a possible future career. In my letter the first week I mentioned that I have always wanted to be a doctor because it involves healing for others. Over the past few years I have learned that healing others can be many ways whether it be surgery, public health interventions, or mental health therapy. But even still, all these paths that I have considered only address the physical healing of a person. Community work does not physically heal someone, but there is plenty of healing that still goes on. Many residents who are not acknowledged by higher powers feel like they are heard when they are engaged with the community, and I think there’s healing in that. I think that there’s healing for people in knowing that their voice matters and there are people that care about what they have to say. I am so thankful for the opportunity this summer to work for a community, and especially for the community I was placed with. I am excited to apply what I have learned to my academics this fall, and even more to whatever my future career ends up being. Thank you!!