Santa Clara University

Jahayra Molina

Sociology and Studio Art major

For Jahayra Molina, involvement with the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP), the on-campus organization dedicated to service, activism, and leadership, meant more than just volunteer work. In both her participation as a volunteer with organizations such as Project Open Hand, an agency based in San Francisco that provides meals and groceries to people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as coordinating programs in her as the 2011-2012 associate director, she has discovered what it means to be a part of a community both on- and off-campus.

Solidarity with the Community

Involvement with the community has been an influential factor in Molina's academic and post-undergraduate career. While at Santa Clara University, she enrolled in community-based learning courses and remembers that the off-campus aspects "added a deeper layer of understanding" to her studies in the classroom. As a current Teach For America Corps member, she believes her experiences with SCCAP and the community during her time at Santa Clara University has helped her "welcome her students with an open mind and an open heart."

Molina quotes Father Kolvenbach's keynote address at Santa Clara's 2001 Justice Conference in explaining the importance of community involvement: "When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change." Being involved in the community as a student has helped her "see the suffering of others," which she sees as the first step towards solidarity with others.

"Although our realities and our own understanding of the world around us may not reflect the suffering of the communities we are serving, our hearts and minds may be touched by their realities. I can be in solidarity with them and their community." 

Campus Community

"Through the programs that SCCAP offers, students are able to immerse themselves in the communities surrounding Santa Clara University and learn about the social injustices that members in our community face." Even more importantly, she notes that students "have the opportunity to reflect on these issues with their peers" and work together, so that there is a sense of solidarity both with the campus community as well as the greater community.

Although SCCAP offers 19 diverse programs focusing on a wide range of issues, the organization "intersects with students involved all over campus." From the fellow volunteers to the community members, Molina says that everyone she met as a student participant and a staff member shaped the person she is today.