Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Global Citizenship'

1.27.16

Knowledge is the Only Sustainable Gift

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Advocacy, Global Citizenship, Education, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

Jaleesa Trapp '14 receives MLK Jr. Legacy Dream AwardJaleesa Trapp ’14 is the Coordinator of the Computer Clubhouse, teacher of computer science at Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute, and works with the Tacoma Action Collective (TAC), which focuses on police and media accountability. In December, Jaleesa was involved in TAC’s “Die-In” at the Tacoma Art Museum in December. The protest highlighted the near-total absence of artists of color in the exhibit “Art AIDS America”—even though 44% of new HIV cases and the majority of AIDS deaths take place in the black community. Thanks to meetings with the exhibit curator and museum staff, the Museum will include more black artists when the show travels to Georgia and New York this year, and invest in staff-wide diversity training. Last fall, she spent three months in Ghana as part of a graduate class at the University of Washington.

I knew that going to Ghana was going to be life changing, but I didn't expect it to be reaffirming. I went with the University of Washington's School of Informatics to conduct research on information and communication technologies (ICTs). My specific project was to see how teachers use games to teach math (with or without ICTs).

The reaffirming moments were spread throughout my research project. Seeing the disparities in education reminded me all too well of the education system in the U.S. Although I'm blessed to work at an awesome school, there are children all over the country who are deprived of an excellent education, because of where they live. In my research, I looked at how rural and urban schools teach mathematics, specifically if they use games and technology as methods. Many rural schools don't have enough books for students, let alone computers to teach math. I also learned that for most people, teaching is a last resort, extremely underpaid, and is not a respected profession. It was evident which teachers were there because they wanted to be, and which were there because they had no other choice. We met a teacher who took pride in his job and the success of his students. All of the students were smiling, and eager to share what they knew on the chalkboard in front of the class.

One teacher told me that students don't go home and practice their reading or math, and that is why they are all behind. But, as I walked through their village I saw fresh chalk on the side of homes with spelling words and math problems written on them. Students did care about their education, but had a teacher who did not believe in them.

Growing up, I could always tell the difference between those two types of teachers at school, and what type of effect they'd have on my education. This is why I agreed to become a teacher; to make a difference. I wanted to be the teacher that wants to be there and has a positive influence on students learning experience.

There was a school I went to in hopes of meeting with the headmaster to collect data, and the first thing he said to me was "What did you bring me?" Initially I was shocked. Why would he think I brought something? Historically, many Americans and Europeans have come to Ghana to "help" schools by donating, and leaving. The people are left to figure out how to maintain their new inheritances, or how to make the school supplies last the whole school year. A student at the university told me it's not fair if I conduct research and just take it home. This reminded me of my work at the Computer Clubhouse. Knowledge is the only gift I can give that is sustainable. Our motto at the Computer Clubhouse is "Each one, teach one; lifting as we climb."  This is important because funding and equipment comes and goes, but the knowledge I'm able to share is forever.

1.30.15

Nominate a Krista Colleague

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Law, Microenterprise, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve, Arts & Culture, Business, Community, Economic Justice, Education, Environment, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Healthcare, Homelessness, Intercultural Development, Peace & Reconciliation, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve

The Krista Colleague Cohort Program is the heart of the Krista Foundation. Nominated by community leaders, 17 young adult Krista Colleagues are selected each year. Colleagues are committed to a sustained period of voluntary or vocational service of at least nine months and motivated to serve by their Christian faith. The Foundation community journeys alongside Colleagues before, during and after service, empowering them to transform service experience into lives of service leadership.

Acceptance as a Colleague includes a $1,000 Service & Leadership Grant to be used at the intersection of vocational interests and commitment to serve. The Foundation pays for four years of the Krista Foundation annual Service Leadership conference and debriefing retreat. Additionally, each Colleague commits to serving as a peer mentor with future Krista Colleagues, developing global citizenship through leadership in retreats and conferences. 

Nominations are due by March 20th, so nominate today!

Click here for nomination criteria or to complete the online nomination forms!

Questions? Please contact Program Director, Stacy Kitahata

Please LIKE, POST, and SHARE this link with any potential nominators.

-The Krista Foundation

2.26.14

Little Things Console Us Because Little Things Afflict Us
by Nikkita Oliver - Krista Colleague

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Intercultural Development, Law, Arts & Culture, Community, Education, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Intercultural Development, Post-Service Term Reflections, Sustaining Service

Little things console us because little things afflict us.
- Pascal

 

I recently attended the "RACE: Are We So Different?" exhibit at the Seattle Center as part of a Krista Foundation outing with the Krista Colleague community. Once inside, I found myself at a unique display including a binder full of notecards where many visitors expressed both contempt and reverence for sports mascots.

A number of the commenters self-identified as Native, illuminating the trauma and harm that sports mascots inflict on them, their tribes, and communities. Juxtaposed to these heartfelt truths were the thoughts of those who see no problem with the manner in which sports teams have co-opted Native cultural images and in many instances commercialized the most stereotypical Native images. As if the dialogue were not complex enough, there were those who self-identified as Native who took no issue with the mascots and maybe even saw other issues as more concerning.

One comment stood out vividly. A member of the Tlingit tribe described what they believed to be the gravest issues facing Native communities. They discussed the life expectancy of Native males and the drop-out rate of Native teens, stating, "These issues are far more important than sports team mascots." To many, Native mascots do not seem like a big issue, but often it is the things that seem the smallest that have the greatest impact.

As a brown person in the white institution of law I constantly deal with small nuanced forms of racism that exist because of larger ones. The larger ones will continue to exist because we are afraid and/or unwilling to deal with the smaller forms of racism.

There is an overall acceptance of the co-optation of cultural assets in the United States with disregard for the impact on communities and people. Additionally, rarely do the owners and creators of those cultural assets receive any sort of recognition or payment for the use of their image even when the image is being used for profit. This process further contributes to the damage done to a community or cultural groups psyche and continues to propel a negative and oppressive relationship between the "minority" and the "majority"1.

While some non-Native people may not see the problem, and may even point to to those Native people who take no issue with it to legitimate their own point of view, the reality is there are Native peoples who are offended by the use of their cultural assets as mascots. When considering racial and ethnic concerns that may seem minute, it is important to remember that big things are often made of smaller things. A small cut can very easily become an infection and a small change can be the catalyst needed to spark a big change.

Dr. John M. Perkins speaks of these little things in his work. When I was in college I sat in a room of young leaders at Seattle Pacific University eager to make change in the world. He told us the key to community development is understanding that the most obvious problems are often symptoms of a larger underlying illness. He told us, "rarely is the solution to the most obvious struggle the root cause of the problem". He encouraged us to consider the small and often times overlooked concerns, especially if those are the concerns the community is point us towards.

He then shared with us this story:

A team of community developers arrived in a neighborhood. They interviewed the people, did research and prepared a list of things they believed the community needed to solve. This list had hundreds of items ranked from the most important to the least. The community members' response to the community developers was that the rat problem was the most important issue to address. The rat problem was ranked in the lowest portion of the list the developers created. Despite their own ideas, the community developers listened to the neighborhood and addressed the rat problem first. As the rats disappeared so did most of the list.

Dr. Perkins shared this story to remind us of two key principles in community development: The small things matter and a community knows itself better than an outside community developer.

At the University of Washington Law School, I listen to people daily discuss our systems and struggles - rarely reflecting on their own role in a problematic system. They hardly ever consider the importance and value of community voice and in particular those communities that are marginalized and disenfranchised. In these spaces there are few people of color, and like those who shared their opinions in the binder at the race exhibit, we do not always agree on the solution. This often becomes a tool of division, co-optation, and/or further marginalization of those voices who speak in opposition to the majority opinion.

Listening is of the utmost importance in addressing any and every situation. If we do not first listen, we will not know how to act in ways that promote wholeness and reconciliation. Too often in U.S. culture do we rely on our formal education (and our privilege) as clout for why we should lead or be in charge. We are not very good at following those who have less formal education, though the community members have far more experience and knowledge regarding their community.

Mascots may seem like a small issue, but when we consider our generational memories of historic racial violence and present afflictions we can see that the psyches of people of color (and white people) have been damaged by big things sustained by small consistent actions and inactions. This small act is the continued poking and prodding on a large wound and emblematic of how we often devalue other people and their cultures. Mascots may not seem like a big deal in light of drop-out rates and mass incarceration, but they are small piece of the puzzle in addressing the root causes of both individual and institutional racism. Our willingness and humility to eliminate the "small" things are a way we show our love and respect for humanity and lead us towards addressing the "larger" struggles.

I believe that we would better serve each other and society if we learned to see multiple solutions, no matter how big or small, as viable and equally necessary; to address the mascots, drop-out rates and mass incarceration all at once.

The work of reconciliation is not easy and often happens in the least obvious places. Reconciliation, like a journey, happens one step at time; sometimes in small steps and sometimes in large strides. We often do not know the value of our small steps, but without them we would not have made it through the journey. Listening and acting on the small things makes the big changes possible.

 

1 The use of quotations around "majority" and "minority" is to signify an important nuance in the use of these terms. It is not to say one group is more major and the other more minor, but in this instance referring to specifically numbers or the size of the population of people. The majority being the larger quantitative group and minority being a smaller quantitative group. In the United States the use of these terms in this manner is appropriate, but in a place like South Africa, where the minority (Dutch/white South Africans) were in power and the majority (Native/black South Africans) were not, these terms must be used differently. 

6.8.12

2012 Keynote Video: Krista Foundation Conference

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Education, Environment, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Sustaining Service


conference logoThis Keynote Address: Roots of Hope, was given Saturday, May 26th, 2012, at The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship's Annual Conference.

Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda is Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics for Seattle University's Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Environmental Studies Program, and School of Theology and Ministry. Her current book project concerns faith-based response to systemic evils such as racism, economic exploitation, and ecological devastation.

The Krista Foundation 2012 Conference theme was Growing Service Leadership: Rooted for Life. Over the weekend, young adults in our program and intergenerational mentors spent time learning together how to develop and maintain healthy roots amidst the challenges of service and transition.

2.13.12

Announcing the Ripple Effect

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Community, Global Citizenship

ripple invitationThe Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship invites you to...

The Ripple Effect:

Service changes you.
Service changes the world.

Join us for a fundraising celebration of service-centered leaders who are shaping our local communities and the world.

Global Citizen Award recipients include:

Sunday, March 4th, 2012
7:00-8:45pm
Doors open at 6:45pm for wine & light hors d'oeuvres

Seattle University, Campion Ballroom
914 E. Jefferson St.
Seattle, WA, 98122

Be inspired and share wine and dessert at this free event!

The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship
Empowering young adults to transform service experiences into lives of service leadership

Please RSVP by February 22nd to your table host, or to nissana@kristafoundation.org

Click to add this event to your calendar.

Special thanks to our sponors— Seattle University—Mission and Ministry, and Sozo Wines!

SU Mission and Ministry                     Sozo wines- Sponsor                       Krista Foundation logo

6.17.11

Meet the 2011 Colleagues!

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Global Citizenship, Preparing To Serve

At the Krista Foundation Annual Conference, 17 new Krista Colleagues were commissioned. They are entering or currently engaged in volunteer or vocational service in urban America, developing nations, or environmental projects. 

Take a minute to let them introduce themselves!

Watch the video:

 

or CLICK HERE to glance at their web profiles:

 

5.2.11

Excitement Builds for 2011 Conference & Guest Day

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Intercultural Development, Post-Service Term Reflections, Preparing To Serve

windswept tree by 06 Colleague Megan HurleyExcitement is building for the KF's Annual Memorial Weekend Conference! This conference brings together Krista Colleagues, spouses, and invited guests.

Guest Day (Sunday) is open to the public who want to celebrate or learn more about our mentoring community-including mentors, parents, and other friends of the Foundation. Register if you'd like to come!

TO REGISTER click http://kfconference2011.eventbrite.com/

A Beautiful Struggle: Recognizing Hope, Embracing Tension, Living Grace

Troubles produce endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. -Romans 5:3

Keynote Speaker: Ron Ruthruff has worked for the past 26 years with homeless and street-involved youth and families as Director of Ministry and Program Development for New Horizons Ministries. He and his wife, Linda recently opened a nonprofit Seattle café that provides job training and employment for young adults working to exit street life. Ron serves as adjunct faculty at Bakke Graduate School and guest lectures at a variety of seminaries and colleges.

Save-the-Date:
Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th - 30th 2011
(Lodge open on Friday evening, the 27th)
Clearwater Lodge, outside of Spokane, Washington
Krista Colleagues, spouses and children are welcome!

GUEST DAY is Sunday, May 29th. Come for Brunch, the Keynote & Krista Colleague Commissioning. Guests are welcome to sit in on afternoon workshops and share a festive dinner.

A special 10th anniversary welcome back to our Krista Colleague Class of 2001!

Come and reconnect with old friends, make new friends, be encouraged and encourage others as we continue to learn what it means to be a "Global Citizen"!

To register click http://kfconference2011.eventbrite.com/

4.29.11

Kirk Harris pursues Political Science Ph.D.

Destiny Williams | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Peace & Reconciliation, Transitions Home & Beyond

 

In a small office on the campus of Indiana University, Kirk Harris stares out a small window. This is where he spends most of his time these days. He finds his life, starting a Ph.D. in Political Science, feels quiet--a "night and day" difference from the sounds and smells of the past five years. In 2006 Kirk sat at a table surrounded by the passionate voices of tribal and community leaders who shared stories of hardship and betrayal amidst a violent ethnic and religious conflict. Despite deep differences, they were gathered on common ground, to nurture peace and rebuild their countries. Kirk, a Krista Colleague who served in Kenya as a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian Church, served with an organization that facilitated Muslim-Christian dialogue between these competing ethnic and religious groups. He remembers and cherishes the friendship and solidarity of "being welcomed by people who are very different from me, of being drawn outside of myself in pursuit of a common calling."

At that time, he wrote to the KF: "By participating in these discussions I am now able to analyze violence and peace more comprehensively, taking into account country-specific obstacles to the resolution of conflicts as well as cultural and theological nuances that affect how they unfold." But the depth of complexity left him longing for an even deeper understanding.

To hone his thinking, Kirk wrote an article on reconciliation in The Global Citizen journal. He seized an opportunity at the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Liaison Office in New York, focusing on Congo and Sudan. After two years, Kirk moved to Khartoum to work for the Sudan Council of Churches in on behalf of MCC. In each position, Kirk was humbled by the issues the communities were facing. In his search of a better framework, Kirk applied to a Ph.D. program.

Graduate school has brought new opportunities and challenges for Kirk, whose goal is to reinvest his degree in service of the people he served in Africa. "I am continually reminded of what I was doing a year ago-working with Sudanese churches who are trying to heal their country in the wake of conflict and stave off new violence." As he seeks to integrate his experiences, cultivate community, and steward his education, Kirk has come to see that "balancing the tension of the mind and heart will take time, and that God's grace, which has sustained me through service, will also sustain me in learning." He reminds himself: "Only 5 and ¼ years to go."

Know someone who has wrestled with the culture shock of transitioning from service to grad school? Share comments or encouragements below.

1.26.11

Greetings!

The Krista Foundation | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Arts & Culture, Community, Education, Global Citizenship, Intercultural Development

serve well blogNo. Seriously. Greetings!

Have you noticed the world is full of thousands of spoken and unspoken ways to meet, greet, or just acknowledge someone?
In intercultural service assignments, whether in U.S. neighborhoods or international settings, we adapt to local ways of meeting somebody, entering a room, or just passing a stranger.

Watch this video prepared by 09 Colleague Brandon Adams, and be sure to post your short paragraph response below:

 

Here's some quick food for thought from Sean Rawson, a volunteer with Jesuit Volunteers International:

"Nicaraguans almost always greet everyone in a room upon entering, either individually or collectively as a group. This usually means a handshake or a cheek kiss for old friends or new acquaintances alike. Even if somebody enters a conversation or a meeting, he or she generally interjects at least a "Buenas tardes" to those present. To my North American-educated mind, this initially came off as extremely rude; I'd be having a conversation or even presenting some point in a workshop, and someone would walk in late with a public "Buenas!" distracting me and the rest of the group from whatever was being discussed. As time went on during my first few months here, I began to realize that this wasn't just a group of inconsiderate youth, but in fact a great example of the beauty of cultural diversity.

Anyhow, I've been working on learning from my Nicaraguan co-workers, friends and acquaintances to recognize that human relationships are worth taking a few seconds out of a busy schedule to make someone feel recognized."

How about you? Share a custom or a story about the greetings you've learned or observed in service.

(Comments may not post immediately, as they'll go through a moderator to prevent spam.)

 

 

11.18.10

Teach for America Coming to Puget Sound

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Urban America, Education, Global Citizenship, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve, Sustaining Service

From cities to towns across the country, the national educational system is struggling, and people are trying different approaches to fix it. Of the growing numbers of college graduates looking to "give back" through meaningful service, some choose to serve in education, either as teachers or in after-school programs.  Teach for America (TFA), founded 20 years ago to address the achievement gap, is one program which places college graduates into paid teaching positions in struggling classrooms. TFA is in the middle of a major national expansion effort that has reached Puget Sound (Seattle & Federal Way).

A Seattle Times Article: "Teach for America seeks foothold in Seattle area" (Nov. 3, 2010) includes background and some opinions from various constituencies impacted by this shift.

A goal of the Krista Foundation is to encourage healthy dialogue and work toward best practices in the broad field of service volunteerism. Whether technically "volunteer" (unpaid/stipended) or vocational (paid), intercultural service should be done with care for the volunteer, and with care for the community where service is done. We appreciate the way TFA's model can be a platform to discuss best practices for service and vocational work by young adults who want to make a difference.

Quick summary of arguments:
Critics note:

  • TFA gives participants only 6 weeks of training before placing them into difficult classrooms.
  • TFA teachers flood a market where even certified teachers aren't getting hired, and then, after the 2-year stint, 2/3 move on, increasing staff turnover.
  • Former TFA teachers tend to have mixed feelings about the program, and site higher rates of burnout and disillusionment. (see NY Times Amanda Fairbanks, and "Teach for Awhile" Seattle Times 11.16.10, or)

Supporters note:

  • TFA teachers make up for not having a teaching credential by bringing vitality and innovation to help turn classrooms around, and site that students of TFA teachers perform as well as those with certified teachers.
  • TFA teachers take classes toward a certification, improving their skills as they work. TFA is one of several non-traditional programs for teacher certification.
  • Some teachers later move into leadership roles in schools and school districts, impacting educational policy.

 

Read the article for more.

Also consider reading Taking Care: The Quest for an Ethical and Mutual Approach to Service, an article by the Krista Foundation's Executive Director, Valerie Norwood.

Are you connected to or passionate about this issue? We welcome and value your experience and reflections. Please post your (moderated) comments below.