Members of the Messiah community share their thoughts on change
Each semester Messiah students find Philadelphia to be a life transforming experience by intentionally deciding to seriously engage in the academic opportunities and challenges present at a public university, by actively participating in and contributing to an intentional learning community that extends education into the surrounding neighborhood, and by exploring with others diverse cultural expressions and social expressions found in a large metropolitan city. For some the richness and depth of these learning experiences give them reason to stay an additional semester and for many these encounters draw them back to the City with life-long commitments to service and social transformation.
Students have opportunity to participate in a variety of community-based projects that are designed to provide an immediate, applied learning experience and simultaneously be of service to people and to our neighborhood. Planned activities include campus-wide service work events throughout the semester, experiential and applied learning activities tied to specific Messiah courses, weekly volunteer work throughout the city with other Temple students, semester-long field work and internships through local agencies and organizations, and participation in local ethnic churches. Projects (sometimes extending over multiple semesters) are accomplished in conjunction with and under the supervision of community actors and organizations in order to increase the value this service work has for the neighborhood. This approach results in having students see that their work can make an immediate and long-term difference in the lives of others such as increased test scores of children involved in an after-school tutoring program and a urban gardening project that in the last two years has taken a set of empty lots and transformed it into a year-round community-managed garden. In both cases, Messiah students have and continue to play an important role in the successful impact of these programs designed by and for our neighbors.
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