Since my time teaching GED classes with Columbia University’s Community Impact program has ended, many of my students have already taken the exam once or even twice. Some of them passed and successfully graduated the program; others still struggle with particular subjects or the exam as a whole. The experience of guiding and leading these people through this process was not only rewarding but also self-defining.
In our last session, few of my “regular” students showed up mostly to say goodbye and wish each other good luck with the hope to meet again under circumstances that will allow us to get to know each other. These past months offered incredible insight to a person’s ability not only of self-conservation but also to reclaim the quality of life that everyone deserves but not everyone receives. Life is pretty hard in some parts of the world, but what is harder is the lack of drive, goal, purpose and dream. All my students are everyday people that merely try to better themselves and their life situation. But that’s not all there is.
I promise you, not everyone would decide one day when they’re 50 years old to go back to school and do homework and take exams amidst all the craziness of a job schedule and family obligations. This is an activity that many 50-year-old people do not include in their everyday lives nor do aspire to. A person that decides to do it however, does so because they have true drive and they deserve all our attention.
That is why we must support the efforts of organizations that offer this attention to them. Apart from the Community Impact program activities at Columbia University - that stretch from GED adult education and college/job assistance to youth programs to advocacy, there are numerous organizations that operate throughout the city with similar mandates. I encourage you all to find an organization that resonates with you and makes you feel comfortable and volunteer for them – because they need you. And always be sure that your contribution to your local society will have a positive impact in the short or the long run. Who knows; it might “touch” you in a personal level as well.
For more information on Columbia University’s Community Impact Program, please visit their website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ci/index.html.
This post was written by Marina Sapountzoglou, M.D., Human Rights and Regional Development. Marina currently works with Commerce Bank, is an aspiring Human Rights Lawyer, active community volunteer and volunteer blogger with the Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project. Please leave your comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.