Written by Breanna LeChase, CBL Assistant for American National Government
My first interaction with the Center of Civic Engagement and Leadership (CCEL) was through the Tarver Internship Program where I not only gained valuable workforce experience, but also realized my true passion for teaching. Since this realization I have been trying to gain as much experience in a classroom setting as possible in an effort to prepare for my graduate studies and to spend more time doing what I love – working with children.
While the Tarver internship was an amazing experience that I am very grateful to have had, my current internship with the CCEL is by far one of the richest and most enjoyable experiences I have had to date. I currently help facilitate community based learning experiences for 15 American National Government students through the Salvation Army’s afterschool program where every Tuesday and Friday, the K-5 students who attend are taught civic lessons by myself and the other Marist students.
So far we have covered topics such as Citizenship, Local Government Knowledge, and Community Awareness. The most rewarding part is seeing the kids really
respond to what we are teaching, like when we did the Super Kiddo activity to see what powers a good citizen has, or when we put our community puzzle together and realized that we are more than individuals, we are a community! In the coming weeks we hope to not only have some fun visiting FDR’s mansion for a field trip, but also to help the kids take action in their community and feel a sense of accomplishment from being civically engaged!
Another rewarding part has been seeing the Marist students grow as they hone their leadership, communication, and organizational skill sets, recognize the application of their American National Government coursework, and acknowledge the importance of civic engagement.
My responsibilities of developing administrative procedures for this CBL course, researching the importance of service learning models, composing lesson plans, managing and supporting the Marist students, and working with the Salvation Army children have all come together to comprise an experience that really applies my passion for education as well as the skill sets I will need for graduate school. The CCEL has added so much value to my Marist experience because it has not only illuminated my passions, but it has also taken my interests, and facilitated an internship experience for me that has verified that I am pursuing a career I love, and that has prepared me extensively for graduate school. I am very excited to go into graduate school with all of the lessons from this experience, and with a portfolio of my deliverables.
I often say that transferring to Marist was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I attribute a lot of that sentiment to the faculty, academic quality of the College, and opportunities I have received while here, and a great deal of all of this is a result of the CCEL’s work.