Our reflection for the week comes from Keeley Scullin, a Sophomore Psychology major with an interdisciplinary concentration in Neuroscience!
Which community partner will you be writing about?
This semester I am doing service with YouthAbility. More specifically, the Conversation Club for YouthAbility. YouthAbility is an organization that empowers disabled and at-risk youth through the use of volunteer and vocational experiences in addition to social opportunities. Through these experiences, they aim to develop the ambassadors strengths and develop life skills.
What did you have to unlearn to be fully present to those you are working with?
Prior to my service experience at YouthAbility, I worked as a Registered Behavioral Technician at Galvin Therapy Center and as a camp counselor at my local park. I have learned a multitude about neurotypical and neurodivergent children in both of these jobs. However, through my experience with Autistic and neurotypical children, I have fallen victim to developing implicit biases. Therefore, in order to be fully present at service I have had to unlearn all assumptions that I previously had about the population. Each of us have implicit biases, so I am not afraid to admit it, but in order to overcome them we need to first be aware of them. After day one, I quickly realized that the majority of the things I assumed were not true. This realization forced me to be more aware of my biases. Once I overcame it, I was able to learn more about YouthAbility and the population they serve.
What is one way in which you’ve allowed yourself to be changed as a result of this experience?
As I said previously, my prior experience with a youth population made me feel prepared for the service placement. Since I felt prepared, I was unsure of how the service would change me. However, on day one I began noticing changes in myself.
Heidi, the director of YouthAbility, starts each of our meetings by calling on each individual in the Zoom. When she calls on the participant, you are asked to share one good thing that happened in the week that you have been apart. As college students, we frequently are caught up in the negative outtakes of life such as test dates and early morning classes. By allowing myself to be consumed by the negatives in life, I have forgotten to find the good moments. Through my placement, Heidi has reminded me to look for the good in each day. Therefore, it is safe to say that one way I have allowed myself to be changed as a result of my service is to find and focus on the positives. I have quickly learned there is good in each day, even when it is hard to find.