Amizade has always believed in the transformative nature of global service-learning. Over the last few years, we set out to transform our global model into a domestic model. We hoped that providing Americans with the opportunity to travel the U.S. while volunteering, would help them to gain a better understanding the diverse histories, cultures and experiences that make up this nation. We believed that this experience could transform how we, as Americans, view one another and the country that we share. During the week of January 15th – January 20th students from Colgate University arrived in Pittsburgh and participated in our first domestic program. Eight students had the opportunity to volunteer with Pittsburgh youth, engage in local MLK Day celebrations, meet with local political officials, tour some of Pittsburgh’s historic neighborhoods, and delight in the diverse cuisines the city has to offer. During their time the participants were able to learn about gentrification and food security, and what those things mean to a city like Pittsburgh and its neighboring boroughs. Through domestic programming, we hope that our participants will gain a better understanding of the world around them and view their fellow citizens with more open, understanding and empathetic eyes.
Check out some impressions shared by students from Colgate University.
“The past week learning about gentrification in Pittsburgh has been an incredible experience. Amizade’s programming gave me an authentic sense of the city’s neighborhoods, as well as the local culture, and every organization we worked with was welcoming and well organized. We would typically do a service activity in the morning, interact with the community in the afternoon, and discuss the events of the day over dinner. Our conversations, facilitated by our Amizade group leader, truly rounded out the experience for me. Each person showed their unique light on the events of the day and widened my perspective on the issues at hand. I am so glad I participated in this trip and highly recommend the program to other students!”
“This past week in Pittsburgh has been an eye-opening experience, as I have interacted with Pittsburghers of all ages. Amizade did an excellent job of not only bringing in speakers from various local organizations but also coordinating hands-on service. Two events specifically stuck out for me. Colgate students created a lesson plan in honor of MLK Day about Bayard Rustin and his activism. We visited the Youth Opportunities Development and worked with students in Clairton. We combined fun icebreakers and an informational activity; we shared laughs and learned more about each other. I felt so connected to these students. The second event that stood out was the Hill District Tour, led by Terri Baltimore. Ms. Baltimore did an excellent job of desiring the historical and modern aspects of life in the Hill District. It was a fantastic week, and I am so thankful for Amizade for exposing me to such a diverse range of people and organizations!”