Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” I heard this quote from a customer of mine while working as a General Manager for a retail store. We were casually talking about a product when she asked if I had a college degree. At the time, I did not, but she was quick to ensure that changed. Little did I know she would change my life that day as she eagerly introduced me to my local community college.
Roosevelt’s quote and the random customer stuck with me the day I received my diploma and became a community college graduate. From the very first course I took, I was taught the value and importance of service learning and civic engagement. Having the ability to incorporate classroom learning while helping the local community was a game changer for me – it shaped who I have become as an individual.
Now, working with colleges and universities across the world and serving as adjunct faculty at two community colleges, I am discovering my student experience wasn’t as unique as I thought. Every day, the nearly 1,500 community colleges across the country open their doors to a diverse student population not to just educate them in the classroom – but to teach them the value of giving back to their community.
Community colleges across the country are embracing the service learning concept and as this Community College Daily article shows – the concept is having positive impacts on student retention rates and the perception of community colleges.
It’s crazy for me to think one quote from a customer forever changed my life – and introduced me to the value of a community college and the importance of giving back to the community I call home.