6-11/2, What I do

For the past few weeks you’ve been focusing on “fine scholarship”. This has included research (focusing on high quality sources), discussions (in-class and online), writing and revising to produce a formal essay that articulates what you have discovered so far.

This week I’d like us to focus on “intellectual citizenship.” This can be defined and actualized in many different ways. Here, I mean what are you doing now (or in the recent past) that exemplifies your participation in the local community that makes us–or people in other countries–better? How are you using what you have learned to make positive differences for others?

For this online discussion, answer the above questions to describe how you are exercising your “intellectual citizenship” for TVS, for Fort Worth, or for other communities. This can refer to conscientious consumerism, volunteerism, random acts of charity/kindness, recycling/reducing/reusing, etc.

I look forward to learning more about your good deeds!

13 thoughts on “6-11/2, What I do

  1. How I try to do my part in intellectual citizenship is by taking what I have learned from class and going into the world with these ideas to show others better ways of helping. Other than my volunteering which I do pretty consistently, I now define intelectaul citizenship as knowing how my choices impacts others in the community. I have not personally done anything major that could be talked about in this blog in the past months, but I have told what I have learned in class to others so they could make better choices in efforts to help the community. I have told friends who are thinking about donating clothes to charities to think if this is going to benefit the individual, or if it is going to make them dependent on the charity and these items. I also told them to be careful where they donate too because some charities might cause harm to shops other countries by overflow of donations. What I suggested to them is to research the charity and know that what they are getting will in some help them for their future and not just right now. So some might say that I have not done anything huge to benefit the city lately, while I might say I have. Every time I hear of friends wanting to donate I ask these questions to them to make sure that this is for the right cause and will actually help the individuals in the future. By doing that then we all are benefiting the community and therefor being intellectual citizens!

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    1. Sawyer,
      I think it’s really cool that you are spreading what you learned in class to others. This is going to help make a difference in the way that our school looks at community service. I wonder how you could make the idea of effective service more well know? You already do a good job of assisting people who ask you, but you could also help making it known to the whole school. I think that you could do this by making a list of effective charity and charities and have someone in admin email it out to the upper school. Not only would this help slacking seniors find places to get their hours, it would allow TVS to make a greater difference, so that we can all be intellectual citizens.

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  2. I enjoy public speaking and debate, so the volunteer work I enjoy the most is through the Breakthrough Fort Worth program, where I teach public speaking to 7th and 8th grade students from underserved backgrounds. Watching the transformative process of students overcoming their greatest fears is so satisfying and propels me to continue volunteering there. Moreover, since English is in such great demand in Korea, I teach English to elementary school children at the city library, reading English books, teaching them to write, and making conversations with them in English. In both instances, I attempt to utilize a skill that I specifically have, whether it is rhetorical or linguistic, to help people in my community accomplish seemingly impossible goals.
    Besides these acts of volunteerism, I think one of the biggest contributions I have made in regard to intellectual citizenship to my community is through the everyday conversations I have with people at TVS. As an international student from Korea, I attempt to enrich our community and make it more globally conscious by informing them of my cultural background and traditions every chance I get. I genuinely believe one of the pillars of intellectual citizenship is being critically conscious of one’s surrounding and knowledgeable of different identities, people, and communities, and so I attempt to stir up dialogue about the rich differences at TVS and celebrate them. I try my best to be curious and enthusiastic about cultural differences asking countless questions and finding interest in what others have to share about themselves. I seek to inject a sense of newness within my community while genuinely being eager to listen and learn what others from dissimilar backgrounds have to share with me.
    With that in mind, I wonder whether the greatest impacts are those acts of service that are not just concrete, but operate at the level of affect, i.e. through emotions or the conversations we have with people and sharing ideas. Also, what are the prerequisites to being an “intellectual citizen?” I think that we should have affective commitments to the material acts of service we do, since it allows for us to serve with purpose and passion. The conversations we have with the people we serve may not have direct tangible results, but certainly shape the way both parties behave and orient themselves to their community, which is something profound. Also, I think the main requirement for “intellectual citizen” is just great awareness of one’s surrounding and the people around them. This knowledge allows us to make better decisions that produce benefits for the community as a whole and doesn’t unwittingly create any harms.

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    1. Hae Seong,
      I really like the way you have been able to use your background to help others in so many different ways. You are able to help children in Korea learn English and you are able to help TVS students understand the Korean culture and engage in discussions about cultural differences in a positive way. I really like the idea of service including conversations with people and sharing ideas and culture. I agree that this service is just as important as service with tangible results. I also agree that a main requirement for intellectual citizenship is awareness of our community, and I think this is the learning part of service-learning. This knowledge does help us help the community more effectively, and it is important to share this knowledge with others. I also think learning about other cultures and people will give us a different perspective of our own community and lead to a better understanding of effective service.

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  3. I am an intellectual citizen because I push kids to do their best. Yes, I work at Camp Impact, but I have talked way too much about that. So, I am going to talk about my religious school.

    At my temple I am a teacher’s aid for 6th grade. Every Sunday these kids come to temple, most of them not willingly, to learn about what it means to be Jewish. This past Sunday, we got into the discussion of “Do you believe in G-d?” We split the kids into groups based on if they chose “all the time”, “sometimes”, or “never”. Surprisingly, there were no kids that chose “never”. They then spent a few minutes talking in their groups about their decision. I sat with the “all the time” group and listened to their discussion. For a group of sixth graders, I was an extremely impressive conversation. The questions that they had of the Torah and of history were amazing and thought provoking. One boy really stood out from the others with his questions and replies. He was really into the discussion, so I took this as the perfect opportunity to push them. They would answer a question and I would play Devil’s Advocate making them find more and more reasons and examples.

    Though this may just seem like a simple Religious school discussion, I believe that I was making a difference in these kids’ lives by forcing them to think outside of the box. This teaches them to look at different perspectives and to create deeper thoughts. By being better thinkers, they will be able to make a big difference in the world.

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    1. Dear Mollie,

      I love this story you shared with us. I think it is captivating and inspiring at the same time. From the information about the temple and how you help kids to think more about their beliefs shows you are an intellectual citizen. Rather than talking about your experiences in camp impact you went on to talk about other local events that benefit your community and the Jewish community. Teaching kids about “what it is to be Jewish” is an important factor in one’s life. Children need to know who they are and their background. They also need to be proud of their Jewish background and know they have a whole community to support them in their belief system.

      I wonder why you were surprised about no one picking the “never” group. Do you think the kids are being truthful believing in God, or do you think they are being pressured into a situation where everyone can see who picked what group? Are they scared being judge in a place where they should feel love and support? The idea of splitting kids into groups to think about their belief is excellent, but if you could dig deeper and have private conversation, maybe one to one with the kids would be a great improvement. Then you will have inter-relationships with one another and improve perspectives on life and religion.

      Sincerely,
      Ashia White

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  4. One thing I have done to help the community is join the community service club. During the club meetings, I helped make decorations for the boys and girls party and signs for the canned food drive. I also volunteered to be one of the freshmen chair members for the canned food drive. I am not sure if the canned food drive creates dependence, but I am volunteering so that I can learn about it and perhaps change the food drive to something more effective in the future. This is one way I am being an intellectual citizen. I also hold the door open for people in and out of school and this can increase their dignity. By holding the door open for them I am treating them like people with feelings and dignity, although I don’t normally think about this when I am doing it. I also love seeing other people hold the door open for others because it shows how kind people can be, so I try to do the same.

    One way I help people in other countries is by working with Operation Christmas Child. In a few weeks I will begin filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and these shoeboxes will be shipped out to children all over the world. These shoeboxes are filled with toys and candy and are often the only Christmas presents the children will receive. I also hope to volunteer at the processing center that packages and ships the shoeboxes. Do you think giving these shoeboxes without asking anything in return creates dependence? I don’t think so because it is only once a year so it is just a treat. Besides this, it is for children who must be dependent on others. It could create dependency if Operation Christmas Child was supporting the children year-round instead of their parents, but even then I’m not sure it would be. What do you all think? I think if it is substituting for the parents working to support their children then it is creating dependence, but if the parents are working hard and cannot support their family then it is good to help support the children and lead them to being independent adults.

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    1. I think it is great what you have proposed about the canned food drive. Whether it makes dependencies or not, by wanting to learn about the programs and how you can effectively fix it, you are doing exactly what we defined service learning as. Instead of shooting organizations down because you determine they may not be the most effective, you are planning to propose how to fix them into making them effective which is an awesome skill I admire.
      I do not think that operation Christmas Child creates dependencies. Since it is a one-year thing it provides underprivileged children gifts to make them feel loved and cared for.. It may not be the most effective service that will end poverty all over the world, but it does bring disadvantaged children joy and who wouldn’t want a child to be happy over the holiday season. Similarly to your idea I think it’s important that parents show that they are working and attempting to provide for their family in order to receive Christmas boxes.

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  5. My interest in technology and computer science encourages me to spread intelligence and computer skills throughout my community. I mostly focus on young girls, especially minority groups. Women are lacking in engineering and I believe as a computer scientist it’s my job to help young women pursue the field of engineering. Since freshmen year, I have surrounded myself with other young women in a STEM program called EMPRESS STEM Inc. In this environment we visit sites like Lockheed Martin and General Electric. Network, electrical, and software engineers talk to us about the work force and inform us on their skills. I also had an internship at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I had the opportunity to teach young children about computer coding and incorporate that into their daily lives. I used platforms such as processing, Jgrasp, and Arduino platforms. The languages I taught were processing, and JavaScript.
    Later on I got an internship at Botanical Research Institute of Texas. During my time at BRIT I helped create an herbarium database which became an open source tool for anyone trying to do the same thing. I am the president of CS^2, therefore we teach students form different schools on basic computer hardware components. I also teach the children processing and scratch for the software side. I believe my participation in all of these activities and community service hours can be seen as the definition of “intellectual citizenship”. The youth did receive and still are receiving positive effects from learning technology and computer science. By educating the youth we are creating a brighter future and a vast amount of employment inside the technology work force.

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    1. Ashia,
      I think that it is excellent that you are in a program that not only allows women to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, but also empowers them to try what is a man-based career. I think the most important part about being a great leader in service is investing time in something you love, which is clearly what you do. The passion you and many others show for the STEM program show outsiders, like me, just how important it is and how long it will be around. What makes your participation in this program an “intellectual citizen”? I believe that your service in the program, although very important, is not what necessarily makes you an intellectual citizen, but the mission of the program itself. The fact that you are so passionate about pushing young women to go into a field like engineering is, to me, what really makes this program effective. STEM seems to be a program I would want to look into because I think in this day and age women should start to step up and seize every opportunity we can get.

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    2. Asia,
      I think STEM is a particularly important field for you to be encouraging community involvement in and empowering students in. The STEM field is notorious for lacking females and people of color, so the fact that you aim your service towards females of color is particularly amazing. The STEM field is also particularly important because the job opportunities in that field are countless. This means that the set of tools you provide to these students is an important step towards rupturing the cycle of poverty and achieving employment.
      Also, as I mentioned in my response, I think a large portion of intelligent citizenship is using your “intelligence” or expertise in a given area to help your community, and you have done precisely that. You understand the computer science world and programming is something you personally are passionate about. I think this leads to the best types of service, one in which you receive and learn just as much as you give to your community. Through these acts of service, I think it’s quite possible that it isn’t just the children that are intellectually growing, but you yourself as well, learning ways to interact, communicate, and lead.

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  6. As an intellectual citizen, I believe I am involved in more than just one community. I try to involve my self in communities from school, to service to church. Most recently I have recently become a leader in my local church community. I have decided that I am officially old enough to share some of my intellectual thought/knowledge on service and love toward the Fort Worth Community. I use the two skills I posses, talking and playing the guitar, to send an excellent message of smart care and charity. These two qualities can go hand and hand when we are talking about helping our community, especially in a church. As a new church leader I try and use the knowledge I learn everyday in class to incorporate with the service my church provides for the community. I am so active in this particular community because I feel I can make the biggest change/difference being this particular intellectual citizen. My church has expanded overseas and does many mission trips keeping in mind effective versus ineffective service. With the new leadership and community service program we reach not only our Fort Worth community but all around the world with effective deeds. Combining my talents I strive to be the best intellectual citizen I possibly can therefore giving my community the best leader it can get. Becoming an intellectual citizen is more than just the amount of time/work one puts into their service but also the amount of awareness and knowledge they get from it.

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  7. One thing I have done to help the community is join the community service club. During the club meetings, I helped make decorations for the boys and girls party and signs for the canned food drive. I also volunteered to be one of the freshmen chair members for the canned food drive. I am not sure if the canned food drive creates dependence, but I am volunteering so that I can learn about it and perhaps change the food drive to something more effective in the future. This is one way I am being an intellectual citizen. I also hold the door open for people in and out of school and this can increase their dignity. By holding the door open for them I am treating them like people with feelings and dignity, although I don’t normally think about this when I am doing it. I also love seeing other people hold the door open for others because it shows how kind people can be, so I try to do the same.

    One way I help people in other countries is by working with Operation Christmas Child. In a few weeks I will begin filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and these shoeboxes will be shipped out to children all over the world. These shoeboxes are filled with toys and candy and are often the only Christmas presents the children will receive. I also hope to volunteer at the processing center that packages and ships the shoeboxes. Do you think giving these shoeboxes without asking anything in return creates dependence? I don’t think so because it is just a treat. Giving the children a present once a year will not create dependence. Besides this, it is for children who must be dependent on others. Up to a certain age children must be dependent on their parents or other adults, so the presents cannot make them more dependent than they already are. Operation Christmas Child could make the parents dependent if it was supporting the children year-round instead of their parents, but even then I’m not sure it would. What do you all think? One could say that any kind of support that is more long-term than a present once a year creates dependence and is ineffective. I think if Operation Christmas Child’s support is substituting for the parents working then it does create dependence and is not a good thing. However, if the parents are working hard and cannot support their family then it is good to support them and help the children grow into independent adults.

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