Reason #58 You Should Visit
Serene afternoon teas
Class of 2021
How are you involved with the Jandon Center?
I am the liaison for the Treehouse Foundation. Founded on the mission that it takes a village to raise a child, Treehouse is an intergenerational community with a goal of re-envisioning foster care in America. I’ve been working with this foundation since my first year at Smith, and in many ways, I’ve grown as an intellect, an organizer, and as an individual as a result of my time there. In addition, I am in the Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration, in which I work directly with the personnel at the Jandon Center.
What have you noticed about your community? What is working/not working?
Through my four years working with Treehouse, I noticed that access to reliable technology was significantly lacking. Oftentimes, only one computer was functional and with multiple students, this posed a significant challenge. In hopes of mitigating this issue, I implemented a novel technology exchange between my institution and Treehouse that provided students with the tools necessary to be successful and created greater access to the digital world.
Who/what inspires you? Or who/what do you think we should know more about?
My inspirations are evoked from lived experiences. I am not inspired by one person or entity per se, but instead by the people I’ve encountered and opportunities I’ve been a part of. I hope that more individuals will be inspired by their surroundings and actively seek ways to enhance the lives of those around them. Many of us have expensive degrees or travel across the world to conduct mission trips when there are millions of people that can use our assistance in our backyards. I encourage everyone to take a deeper look at who and what is around them and find ways to be a catalyst for change.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about you? Or what’s a fun fact about yourself?
One of my many hobbies is traveling globally. My mother has been to all seven continents, most of which I was present for. I haven’t been to Antarctica, but it is definitely on my bucket list. To me traveling is more than just hours spent on sand beaches and amazing nightlife. It is the expression and appreciation of the similarities and differences between various cultures. I remember when I traveled to New Zealand with my family when I was 7 years old. When we disembarked from the boat, there was a family of darker-skinned people greeting all of the guests. As the only black family on the boat, they quickly noticed us and the mother’s face lit up and said “your kids look like my kids” to my mother. Every day after that, my siblings and I played with their children and they would give us home-cooked meals, coconuts and local desserts. They were saddened by our departure, but I will always remember how two families originating from thousands of miles apart found a commonality and shared each other’s cultures. With each new destination, I develop a deeper understanding of cultural competency and a love for immersing myself in new experiences.
“Many of us travel across the world to conduct mission trips when there are millions of people that can use our assistance in our backyards. I encourage everyone to take a deeper look at who and what is around them and find ways to be a catalyst for change.”