Learning Outside of the Classroom: JCU Community Service
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
Through the Community Service Program, JCU students of all majors have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the local community while cultivating a sense of social responsibility, and experiencing personal growth. The Program is affiliated with a variety of Italian charitable organizations such as l’ARCA, the Community of Sant’Egidio and Istituto Leonarda Vaccari, among many others.
Students can get involved with different communities in need depending on their interests, skills, and schedules. Given the abundance of English-speaking students at John Cabot, the Community Service Program offers many opportunities to teach English. One of these is Casa Internazionale delle Donne (International Women’s House), located just down the street from John Cabot University. The Organization offers a shelter to women who have been victims of violence and a variety of services to empower women ranging from English lessons to self-defense classes.
“I have been teaching English at Casa Internazionale delle Donne for over a year and it’s become very important to me. I adjust my schedule every semester accordingly, so that I can keep going,” says Communications major, Kiriko Mechanicus.
Study abroad student Jenna Laleman also volunteered twice a week at Casa Internazionale delle Donne during her semester at JCU: “When I moved to Rome I wanted to find a little way to help and give back to the community.”
Giosuè Prezioso began teaching Italian at another one of JCU’s affiliates, the Italian Center for Solidarity, in 2015. Giosuè significantly helped the children of immigrant families build confidence in speaking a new language and thus better integrate into their new culture. He says he felt “fulfillment on a daily basis.”
International Affairs major Deanna Daugherty describes her experience at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center as “life changing and important”. After teaching English at the Center every Friday morning, she understood she wanted to teach English as a second language as a career. She says, “Even though I hear some really difficult stories, I leave the Center feeling uplifted because I know that I help people somehow.”
Student Omar Abdel Latif, who also volunteers at the Refugee Center, first got involved with community service while studying in Jordan,” a country that he describes as “in the middle of fire.” Omar’s experience volunteering with Palestinian refugees in Amman drove him to pursue volunteering through John Cabot University, and as a result, he has just been elected the new President of the JCU chapter of STAND, the student-led movement to end mass atrocities. Omar is now working along with other JCU students on a project called “Dream in a Bottle,” his own documentary aimed at telling the stories of the numerous refugees who have fled their countries in search of a safer life.