Please describe one experience or project where you worked with people across lines of difference
Our national awareness has changed in the past years from managing homelessness to bringing an end to homelessness. State, federal, and local policies have concentrated on specific groups such as people going through chronic homelessness, families, veterans, and youth. In most cases, these attempts have been successful in attracting new partners, stimulating private and public support, and enhancing public consciousness of what can be done to bring homelessness to end. The number of homeless people in America has continued to rise over the past few years. This issue stems from various causes such as unemployment, absence of affordable housing, low wages, domestic violence, and poverty.
It pains me whenever I walk along streets and come across homeless people lying helplessly on foot paths. These people lack access to a very fundamental basic need; shelter. It affects me greatly especially watch women with very young children trying to keep themselves warm on a cold night. I feel like there is a lot that needs to be done in order to help these helpless people whose cries are rarely heard by our legislators. I have always wanted to help needy people, and so, last year my friend and I decided to visit a shelter home in my hometown. It was nerve wrecking to see young children and women all lining up to receive the little food that the shelter could offer. My friends and I helped to serve food, clean the place, and even present to the management the few donations we were able to bring.
That is, when have you worked with individuals, groups, or organizations that are comprised of social identities different from you?
As I interacted with these homeless people, I realized that they were all coming from different social and economic background. Some had lost their jobs and could not get new jobs, while others had run from their families due to abuse they were experiencing from their spouses. Their social identities were different from mine in that, a number of them were from different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class among many others.
? What did you learn about diversity, your social identity, and privilege from this experience and/or project?
From the interaction I had with the homeless, I learnt that living in a diverse society brings such issues as homelessness to light because even if the matter does not impact me directly, it may affect someone else in my school. While it may be overwhelming to see many people experiencing a problem that you had not experienced before, diversity gives one the chance to receive a well-versed enlightenment and enhances their feeling of awareness.
The visit to the homeless shelter enabled me to reflect on the privileges I have since I do not have to experience the hardships of being homeless because they do not in any way relate to my identity. Even so, as a potential beneficiary of Puksta Scholars Program, I am aware that I need to spare time to listen and try to understand experiences of other people even if they do not primarily affect me.
How might your participation in Puksta Scholars enhance your academic and even professional interests and how might your academic interests enhance your Puksta Scholar work?
I am aware that Puksta Scholars Program calls for meaningful devotion to advancement of civic skills, community work, and the formation of sustainable community associations, public work projects, and mentorship associations. As such, this program will help me be part of a community which strives to make the world a better place. I believe that by participating in Puksta scholars, I will be able enhance my academic interests alongside professional interests in that it will improve my knowledge on how to analyze social and societal behavior through groups and social establishments. I am looking to gain superior knowledge which will enable me to improve lives of people in the society through helpful programs.
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