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Educating for Social Change

written by Lydia, Fall 2017 Intern with Miami University’s Over the Rhine Residency Program
My name is Lydia, and I am an intern here at IJPC for the fall. I am a Senior at Miami University studying Social Work, and am also in the Over the Rhine Residency Program through the university’s Center for Community Engagement. The Residency program is a unique service learning opportunity for students to live in the community of OTR for a semester. The main goal of the program is that students don’t just study a neighborhood, but actually become part of it. During the semester, there is a strong emphasis on community engagement, active citizenship, and advocacy for social justice. This is all achieved through working at an organization in the community and taking courses about urban life, social movements, and effective service learning.

I was drawn to Over the Rhine because of of my desire to be engaged in a community and to learn by coming alongside those who live in the community. The program offered a way to build relationships with those in OTR and an opportunity for me to put into practice what I had been learning in the classroom. I was then drawn to IJPC because it has also been a lasting part of the community and its values lined up with the residency program’s. Also, their work focused on two of the issues I am most passionate about, human trafficking and immigration. I interviewed with Samantha, learned about the advocacy and educational work that she did, and knew that I wanted to be apart of IJPC. My desire to serve others, my educational goals, my passions, and my itch for something new besides campus life all collided, and now here I am two months into an internship that I love!

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Mayerson High School Service Learning Workshop at University of Cincinnati with Samantha and José.  The workshop, put on by the Center for Community Engagement at UC, was a day-long service learning event meant to connect students and community partners from across the region. It was a great opportunity to represent IJPC and present about Immigration to about 80 high school students from all around the Cincinnati area.

The presentation itself was quick, but effective. During two different sessions, we were able to discuss comprehensive immigration reform, DACA, the DREAM Act, and issues that immigrants in our community face. We were also able to give the students ways to get involved, specifically through the YES program at IJPC. One thing that was unique about this presentation was that we used a board game to simulate the experience of an immigrant (either documented or undocumented) living in the United States. By playing the game, students were able to better understand the uncertainty of daily life as an immigrant and experienced the frustration that comes from navigating the complicated immigration system. We finished each session with José sharing his story of being an immigrant. The students and teachers alike were moved by his experience, saying that it made the issue more personal and relatable.

IJPC can do more presentations like this for you and your group! Click here to fill out the request form for one of the following:
  1. Immigration 101 Presentation
  2. DACA and the DREAM Act Discussion
  3. Speaker from YES Speakers Bureau
You can download the Immigration Board Game to play on your own time, or have us come out for an Immigration 101 presentation to facilitate and debrief what the group has learned. Contact us and let’s work together for a more just immigration system.