The Thriving Neighbors Initiative (TNI) Community Development Fellowship is a paraprofessional community-based learning experience, which allows undergraduate students to obtain professional work experience while pursuing defined learning goals and objectives. Social justice-oriented engagement with the community to enhance vocational discernment is the cornerstone of the program. The year-long opportunity offers an in-depth exploration of community partners and services which will be hosted at community partner agencies within the Greater Washington Neighborhood, home to the Thriving Neighbors Initiative. TNI is an initiative promoting engaged scholarship, teaching, and sustainable development facilitated by SCU’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. The initial focus of the TNI is on the five, predominantly Latino neighborhoods that make up the Greater Washington community in San Jose.
The program provides juniors and seniors with a rich and deep experience in the local community. Fellows are matched with a community partner for a full academic year, spending an average of six to eight hours per week in the community. The fellowship is designed to meet the needs of community partners but also to help fellows delve into individual passions and areas of interest. As liaisons, fellows serve as a resource for other SCU students doing community development work in the context of the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program while learning more about a profession in the public and non-profit sectors.
Requirements & Qualifications
- Must be a current sophomore or junior in good academic standing (2.5 GPA or better)
- Must have previous experience working/learning with the community, preferably through the Ignatian Center
- Must be able to commit six to 10 hours per week for a full academic year (includes travel time to/from site)
- Engage in the community for six to ten hours per week throughout the academic year (September to June) at host agency site
- Identify host organization opportunities that align with Thriving Neighbors goals
- In conversation with your host organization, propose and produce a final project to be presented at year-end celebration
- Serve as liaison between the Ignatian Center and the host organization
- Co-facilitate quarterly orientations and lead student reflections for Arrupe Weekly Engagement.
- Serve as a resource and mentor for SCU students who participate at the host organization in Arrupe Weekly Engagement
- Participate in bi-weekly fellowship meetings and quarterly site supervisor meetings
- Attend two student leader retreats (fall and spring)
- Assist with ignatian Center events, as appropriate
Interns receive a modest stipend.
2017-2018 Community Development Fellows
Makinzi Myers '18 | Estrella Family Services
Makinzi is a senior from Port Orchard, Washington, pursuing majors in psychology and child studies and a minor in public health. She is passionate about early childhood education and helping less privileged children overcome obstacles. This led her to the Community Development Fellowship for a second year, as she believes it is an incredible opportunity to work with and learn from the amazing children in the community. Estrella Family Services is a huge resource to the children and families that it serves and this fellowship allows immersion into all that they do in their preschool classrooms.
Katie Reohr '18 | Sacred Heart Community Service
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Katie Reohr is a senior with double majors in Biology and Spanish. After graduation, she hopes to continue her education and work in a local medical clinic. Her fellowship this year is working within the education department at Sacred Heart Community Service. Katie thrives while working in an after school program for kids ranging from six to fourteen years old. It is through this volunteering that her joy in creating bonds and helping children pursue their educational goals becomes apparent. One of the bigger projects she is involved with is teaming up with the 5th graders for the Tech Challenge, hosted by the San Jose Tech Museum. Along with a other community members at Sacred Heart, she will help them understand the basics of machinery while creating a final product to showcase in April. She is excited for this opportunity to become invested and involved in such a loving and caring community. She is never anything other than welcomed and loved like a family member while working at Sacred Heart. When not pursuing her passion of medicine, Katie is avidly playing soccer, participating in extracurriculars such as Peer Health Educators and Relay for Life, or volunteering at the Washington Health Clinic.
Maria Muñoz-Yepez '19 | Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School
Maria is a junior majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Urban Education and Ethnic Studies. She aspires to become a Child and Adolescent Psychologist that serves low-income communities. Her passion for building and promoting strong communities has led her to hold various positions on-campus and off-campus. Moreover, her experience with multiple community-based learning courses and interest in working with community organizations has led her to become a Community Development Fellow at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School. She hopes to use her skills to support Cristo Rey, but also learn from the students and staff there.