September 2015

This is a reflection I’ve written for the Family, School, and Neighborhood Engagement Scholars I work with. Read my introduction to these here.

PromptCenter for Service and Learning. Sam H. Jones Community Service Scholarship Program Jacket

  • Based on the overview from our Community 101 Training, your review of the Quality of Life Plans, and your first few weeks working in FSNE (Family, School, and Neighborhood Engagement), what social issues do you feel are most pressing in our community?
  • How do you feel your work this year will contribute to improving the Quality of Life in the Urban Core?

Response

There are a wide variety of social issues that affect the Indianapolis urban core, and each of them affect every single person in Indianapolis regularly. Getting to the root of what causes many of these social issues and tackling that might be better than trying to tackle each one individually.

For the purposes of this reflection, I will talk about two pressing social issues in the Indianapolis urban core.

My main areas of focus in my position have to do with education and health.

Health

In order to get to a healthier Indianapolis, we have to tackle some major issues: the healthcare system, the cost of and access to healthy food, safe places where people can exercise for free, among many others. If we can fix those issues and have healthy people living in our communities, we might have less people getting into debt caused by medical bills. If we have healthy people, we might have lower mortality rates.

Education

In order to have an educated population, we have to tackle a whole host of other issues: we need to prioritize how we want our students to learn (and pay our teachers!), we have to find a way so students are focused on their education (and not have the admin focused on what they’re wearing), we have to find a way to get every student access to education (and do we want a system where two students in a city can grow up K-12 where one goes to a private school and one goes to an underfunded public school just because one child’s parent has more money?), and I could go on for years about the issues plaguing our education system.

However, if we have a functioning education system that actually supports and encourages its students, we might have less people in what’s called the school to prison pipeline. If we have a better education system, we might have people who are educated on ways to be engaged in society (so maybe we elect people who can really do their jobs). Maybe they’ll make more money. Maybe they’ll be more independent. Maybe there will be less crime. Who knows what might be?

Other Issues

Unfortunately, even if we have healthy and educated people living in Indianapolis, we still have a system that puts some people in a place of privilege while stopping others from advancing in society, no matter how healthy or educated they are.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution; we have to make our society a one based off equity, where everyone gets access to the things they need.

How? I don’t really know. Right now, we have many organizations trying to improve education, health, livability, opportunity, and more. Many of these organizations focus on helping individuals, which I think is a great idea, but is it sustainable? Maybe. We really need our system to change, but that’s harder than moving ourselves to Mars.

My Contribution

I will continue my work as a Graduate Assistant working to build partnerships in the Indianapolis urban core to improve the health and general quality of life of its residents. I will help train the five scholars I work with and help them grow into civic-minded graduates who are able to make change in our society. I will work to help fund my colleagues in their projects that make improvements in workforce development, education, health, and human services in the urban core. I will apply what I’m learning here to my future career in library sciences.

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