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Amal Matovu and Rellika Kisyula at The MasterCard Foundation Scholars' 2015 Service Learning Reflection Event
Amal Matovu and Rellika Kisyula at The MasterCard Foundation Scholars' 2015 Service Learning Reflection Event

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The MasterCard Foundation Scholars' Presentations on Spring 2015 Service Learning Experiences

Posted By: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars    Published: Monday, 10 Aug 2015

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is inculcating in its Scholars a profound sense of appreciation for the act of Community Service. To this end, it was worth the Scholars' times to band into cohorts and engage with the Greater Lansing populace in a holistically meaningful manner. In the myriad of interactions that ensued, the fundamental ethos of unity, synergy and remembrance were accurately articulated.

On Saturday, April 18, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program held a Reflection Event in which the analytical and philosophical elements of their community service acts were discussed at length. The theme of Teamwork quickly resonated among them, as all of their contributions related to the need for collaboration as a means of completing their tasks posthaste and efficiently. This theme repeated itself via the Trinity Church Painting Project, Greater Lansing Food Bank Initiative, Engineering Expo Volunteerism Activity, Hunter Park GardenHouse Service-Learning Opportunity, Bike Service Project and the Haven House Volunteerism Day.

These service-activities allowed the Scholars to bond, practice the art of specializing in particular tasks while contributing to a larger outcome and understanding the essence of performing community service. More importantly, the requirements for successful coordination were revealed through these meaningful interactions.

Specifically, the Scholars found that their individual attitudes correlated strongly with the degrees of success that their volunteer service learning endeavors received, as well as the sense of triumph that their ventures garnered for them. For example, the members of the Hunter Park GardenHouse worked in a light-hearted manner, which not only increased their personal determinations to get the job done, but also made their subjective experiences positive, which then allowed them to produce and appreciate their finished product.

Community service encapsulates more benefits than just cohort building, networking and sharing distinctive skills. Oswald Chisala, a Mechanical Engineering major, said, "Community service is an investment." Many of the scholars noted that they felt a great sense of self-fulfillment and achievement from completing projects, and helping others. It regenerated the sense of optimism about the ideas that they hope to act on in the future.

To consolidate this view, Lerato Rametse, a Psychology major, who gave a presentation on the Greater Lansing Food Bank, said, "239 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live with food insecurity, which is comparable to the 49.1 million Americans living in the same condition." This raised questions about what Africans are doing and how this matter can be assuaged. In America, the Lansing Food Bank is an example of a voluntary organization that uses noncompulsory human labor to lower the effective cost of disseminating goods, which then allows the surplus to be used to increase the quantity of available food. In that sense, volunteering induces an economic reward because it erases government costs, which may have been used to alleviate this disheartening matter.

This lesson shows the significance of volunteerism and community service in terms of its profound impact on economic systems, but the moral is extended to social, scientific, environmental, religious and political circles. This, then builds into what the Scholars learnt from their service-learning endeavors: that community service is an investment, which if engaged in appropriately could have positive ripple effects in not only themselves, but also people that extend from the ends of Africa to the farthest reaches of the globe.

In the concluding moments of the program, the sophomores expressed their desires to give back, and shared how they anticipated that their internships this summer would be rewarding for their communities. They reiterated their gratitude towards The MasterCard Foundation, with beliefs that their ability to assist the Greater Lansing is only because of the opportunity bestowed upon them.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summed this up excellently when he said, "All I'm saying is simply this: that all life is interrelated; we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be - this is the interrelated structure of reality."

Authored by MasterCard Foundation Scholars Amal Matovu (Economics Major) and Oswald Chisala (Mechanical Engineering Major)

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