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Reflection in Action: Sara Sfeir '24

Our reflection for the week comes from Sara Sfeir, a sophomore majoring in Biology!

Which community partner will you be writing about? Briefly describe their mission and the population they serve.

I will be talking about the Jennings Center in Garfield heights which is one of their four locations in Northeast Ohio. Their mission is to provide high quality choices in residences and services in Northeast Ohio. They service elderly individuals and provide them with long term care, hospice, assisted living, and independent living to name a few. Most of the individuals that live there are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's and Jennings tries their best to make it seem like home.

What values, opinions, beliefs have changed as a result of your service-learning experience?

After doing my first semester at the Jennings Center in Fall of 2021, I knew that I wanted to take this service site again this semester. This experience has been one of the greatest experiences I have been through and with no doubt changed my views on the world and on myself. The way the Jennings Center was described to me before I started was that I would get to paint with the elderly that are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. However, though this description is correct it is very broad. I would describe it as a service site that will change your perception on disease and allow you to form special bonds and relationships with individuals. As a result of my service learning experience, the way I viewed these diseases changed tremendously. I used to believe that people that suffered from them would not be able to perform daily tasks. Yet, I was wrong. I learned during this service site that these people are human beings just like you and I. They have a great sense of humor and great storytelling abilities. They tend to remember things from their past from time to time which they feel comfortable sharing. They are patient and know exactly what they want. My opinion on facilities like the Jennings Center changed as well. I now believe that there are good places that provide long term care and service that benefit the individual in the long run.

What is one way in which you’ve allowed yourself to be changed as a result of this experience?

As a result from this experience, I learned to be more patient with my friends and family. I learned to take my time with things and not rush into getting stuff done. I also allowed myself to see the residents' lives from a different perspective. I stopped viewing the residents as just their disease and started viewing them as people who just love to paint, be around other people, and have a great sense of humor.


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