Background Image

Hope College December 2013 : Page 8

Campus Profile Learning in By Katy Carlson ’13 Community also encouraged me to take on roles of leadership and plan events about culture and community. What an important experience that was for me. Just as quickly as college begins, soon it comes to an end and students must adapt to living in yet another environment. I have found Hope Neighbors Community to be the perfect transition for me into being a member of a community larger than Hope. If college is supposed to be a place of preparation for a life in a broader society then it only made sense to me that I receive some training in this area. Hope Neighbors Community provides off-campus experience and an emphasis on connecting with those living around them in the college’s hometown of Holland, with students living in intentional Christian L iving on campus is an important experience. So is living off campus. Last week I wrote a paper in my Senior Seminar class in which I described some of my influential experiences at Hope. I wrote about how my experience at Hope would have been different if I had not lived on campus. The environment of Hope’s campus allowed me to build relationships that have inspired me to take my education further than I ever anticipated. Being in such close proximity to other students Fellowship among the student participants includes family-style dinners. From left to right are Jessica ray, Corey Bilodeau, Conor livingston, program mentor Chelsea lampen and sam gindl. Hope Neighbors Community program intentionally engages Hope students with residents of central Holland, to give us a chance to meet some of the residents who live permanently in the city that we call home for four brief years. The students live together in houses on Washington Avenue, about a half mile west of campus. Before I joined the Hope Neighbors Community I had only crossed into the neighborhood beyond River Avenue a handful of times. I was a leader of the social justice club Hope United for Justice and kept myself aware of the great diversity that Holland is blessed with. Still, I had never taken the time to build a relationship with a Holland individual outside of Hope. Now, I call this neighborhood my home and I regularly share meals and conversations with a diverse group of people. Being a Hope Neighbor is not an enormous commitment, but it does require one to be conscious about where their time is spent. Once a week we meet together to prepare and share a meal. This year there are six women living in the women’s house and three men in another house. We also have a live-in married couple as mentors. Although we see each other often during the week, it has been very beneficial for us to have this scheduled time of community. On a different night of the week we also have a Bible study where we have been reading through Nehemiah this year. Outside of these group meetings we commit to attending a church in the neighborhood and being involved in an organization working locally. 8 News News From From Hope Hope College College

Learning in Community

Katy Carlson

<br /> Living on campus is an important experience.<br /> <br /> So is living off campus.<br /> <br /> Last week I wrote a paper in my Senior Seminar class in which I described some of my influential experiences at Hope. I wrote about how my experience at Hope would have been different if I had not lived on campus. The environment of Hope’s campus allowed me to build relationships that have inspired me to take my education further than I ever anticipated. Being in such close proximity to other students also encouraged me to take on roles of leadership and plan events about culture and community. What an important experience that was for me.<br /> <br /> Just as quickly as college begins, soon it comes to an end and students must adapt to living in yet another environment. I have found Hope Neighbors Community to be the perfect transition for me into being a member of a community larger than Hope. If college is supposed to be a place of preparation for a life in a broader society then it only made sense to me that I receive some training in t his area.<br /> <br /> Hope Neighbors Community program intentionally engages Hope students with residents of central Holland, to give us a chance to meet some of the residents who live permanently in the city that we call home for four brief years. The students live together in houses on Washington Avenue, about a half mile west of campus.<br /> <br /> Before I joined the Hope Neighbors Community I had only crossed into the neighborhood beyond River Avenue a handful of times. I was a leader of the social justice club Hope United for Justice and kept myself aware of the great diversity that Holland is blessed with. Still, I had never taken the time to build a relationship with a Holland individual outside of Hope. Now, I call this neighborhood my home and I regularly share meals and conversations with a diverse group of people.<br /> <br /> Being a Hope Neighbor is not an enormous commitment, but it does require one to be conscious about where their time is spent. Once a week we meet together to prepare and share a meal. This year there are six women living in the women’s house and three men in another house. We also have a live-in married couple as mentors. Although we see each other often during the week, it has been very beneficial for us to have this scheduled time of community. On a different night of the week we also have a Bible study where we have been reading through Nehemiah this year. Outside of these group meetings we commit to attending a church in the neighborhood and being involved in an organization working locally.<br /> <br /> At the beginning of the year I was anxious about meeting our neighbors. How would I meet them without coming off as nosy or overexcited? Slowly, friendships have begun to form and now I have many more stories than I could possibly share here.<br /> <br /> One memorable experience in particular began with a batch of cookies made from a mix. I got the idea that we could make cookies for some of our neighbors because that is a fairly normal and non-intimidating thing for neighbors to do. We bought a bag of chocolate chip cookie mix and delivered it with a note to three of the houses on our street. That plate of cookies opened a door for us to meet several of our neighbors. On Thursday, one of our neighbors came to us distressed because her mom was in the hospital in another town 45 minutes away. She didn’t have a car and had no one that could take her there. That evening another student from our program and I were able to give her the ride that she needed. During our drive she told us how the house she lived in was part of a transitional living program and all that that meant. She told us what life was like growing up in her broken family and what led her to living in t his home. She also described the difficulties of getting back on your feet once you’ve hit rock bottom. Having that real conversation in the car had more of an impact on me than any classroom experience. We are careful to say that the Hope Neighbors Community is not a “service house”, but rather, an experience. My housemate and I bot h felt like we were served more by our neighbor during that car ride than we served her.<br /> <br /> These are the people that fill our communities. They all have stories, and many of them are waiting for an invitation (even just in the form of a cookie) t o share them. Without the support of the Hope Neighbors Community I am certain that I would have missed out on this fuller experience of Holland. Living in this neighborhood has been an experience of receiving knowledge, stories and experiences that can never be repaid by any amount of community service.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here