Service Update/Beyond The Binary

Service Update/Beyond The Binary

February 7, 2022 Uncategorized 26

Please choose ONE of the following questions to respond to:

  1. What is your service site? What is your main role there? What is a professional goal you would like to achieve at your site this semester?
  2. In a paragraph or less, please reflect on your experience attending the “Beyond the Binary” on Wednesday Feb. 9, 2022.

26 Responses

  1. Tori Mangelli says:

    The “Beyond the Binary” meeting was very empowering. I am not going to lie, typically I find these speakers very insightful yet I do feel like they usually are shoving their opinion in everyone’s face. However, that was certainly not the case this time. I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up to an audience and tell them to talk to their racist uncle or homophobic friend or whoever it may be and have a conversation with them instead of trying to cancel them. I believe that this takes more bravery than the cancel culture we are surrounded by because anyone can walk anyway from someone who’s said or done something inappropriate and scold them for it, but it takes a special type of person to have a dialogue and try to show them why they are wrong. This promotes real change, and this is what our job is as Bonners. This speaker resonated with me much more than others have in the past because of this strong message.

  2. Anum Tehseen says:

    My site for this semester is Spina Bifida where we envision a world where individuals with Spina Bifida thrive in a barrier-free society in which they can choose from a multitude of effective treatment options and receive consistently high-quality medical care. My role revolves around conducting research on the site itself (as I’m a new member), learn and implement marketing strategies, make flyers, write thank you letters, and conduct a plan for monthly calendars regarding the events that we will be participating or practicing. My goal for this semester is to be able to bring new and fresh ideas to the weekly Monday meeting we have with Julia. My personal goal is to be able to plan my time wisely and stick to a schedule.

  3. Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

    I serve at Castle Island Bilingual Montessori, my main role is basically any administrative work and projects that needs help getting done. My main roles at Castle Island currently are developing a new program at the school where once a month the school will host: ” Parents’ Night Out, ‘Noche Libre’ Friday night babysitting service/date night for parents”.
    This project is where I will create the business plan to map out the supplies needed for this night, how much to charge, develop protocols and procedures, and create a plan for recruiting volunteers. Another project I am working on is further developing the resource directory as well as creating a guided video for parents on how to fully access all information available to them.
    A professional goal I would like to achieve is the ability to fully complete the new program I am working on and learning to further develop my time management skills as I am heavily tasked with so many projects and programs this semester.

  4. Brianna Rodriguez says:

    My service site is FOCUS Churches of Albany. My main role at my site is working at the Breakfast Program serving hot breakfast and lunch bags as well as at the Food Pantry. At the Food Pantry, Kayla and I bag produce to distribute and package up the orders that are called in for groceries. We also ensure that the food we are serving at the Food Pantry is not expired and acceptable to eat for those ordering groceries. A professional goal I would like to achieve at my site this semester is to do more indirect service with my site supervisors, Belinda and Fred. I would like to start projects with the Poor People’s Campaign as they usually play an supportive role for FOCUS Churches.

  5. Kayla McKay says:

    My service site for this semester is FOCUS Churches in Albany. My role at FOCUS Churches is working both at the food pantry and the breakfast program. At the food pantry I organize produce in an effienct manner with my other fellow Bonner, Brianna. At the pantry we also check to see if all the food we are distributing and giving away are within the right selling dates and nothing is expired. I have learned that just because we are giving away food doesn’t mean it is always fresh and people deserve fresh and nutrious foods. Another role at my site is working at the Breakifast Program. Here I hand out hot meals and lunch bags to people during the hours of 7:30-8:30am. Currently we are in the hiring process of finding a new Breakfast Coordinatior so Brianna and I will take on tasks such as inventory of the supplies. My professional goal at my site this semester is to work more with the Poor People’s campaign and create a social media platform for our site to reach out to other volunteers that would be interested in working with FOCUS Churches.

  6. Kimberly Lopez says:

    My service site is The Connect Center For Youth. I am a program assistant there and currently, I’ve been working on blog posts, job listings, food pantry organization, and assisting John to run First Lego League. It feels great being able to contribute to The Connect Center, I really enjoy learning new things, and at The Connect Center, I have learned a lot. My main goal for this semester is to keep up good communication with my supervisor, asking questions helps me deliver my best work for my site. To conclude, I enjoy working at my site and I look forward to growing alongside it.

  7. Asavari Gowda says:

    Attending the Beyond the Binary event last week was an enlightening experience. I truly enjoyed the different poems that CJ Suitt shared with us because I have never really been to an event with a poet laureate speaker and I found myself very engaged with the flow of CJ’s words and the message they encompassed. There were many strong points I heard throughout the event, but one of my favorites was when CJ shared an analogy about a bridge and how it represents the necessity of communication in our lives. He said that bridges are what connect lands across the globe, but in order to do that they must have at least two points of foundation. This analogy was speaking to how it’s okay and necessary for there to be different viewpoints between people, but it is also necessary for people to be open to communicating with one another and calling each other in when someone says/does something they shouldn’t have. All in all, I think the event was incredibly worthwhile and something I would 100% attend if it were to take place again.

  8. Erin Spence says:

    This is my last semester as a PA, crazy! This semester, I am continuing my role in training and enrichment. This can be a tough responsibility because there is a lot that goes into the planning stages of creating our Wednesday nigh curriculum. At the beginning of this semester though, I started working with Sarah Toledano, who is an expert in all things training development. She has helped me to plan and implement the workshops that we have for the remainder of the semester. I’ve found that it is so much easier to do this when I have someone on my team who I can bounce ideas off of and work with on these tasks. My goal at the beginning of the semester was to not let myself become too overwhelmed with the work that needs to be done, and to just do what I am able to do. I think I have been able to do this well so far and I plan to carry this goal into the rest of the semester. I am also working on my capstone. My goal for this project is to write a reflective paper on my research and provide my community partner with materials that they will be able to use in the future.

  9. Annabelle Fisher says:

    My service site is the Connect Center. Right now it feels like my role here is assisting in brainstorming and carrying out tasks to keep the center on track and stable, like posting job listings and working the desk for the after school program. Abby and I work together and venture a little into brainstorming and going beyond immediate tasks to try to set up new programs and relationships for the center, and I want to focus more on this aspect of service as the semester progresses. I think this semester I just really want to shift from a place of receiving immediate direction and instruction to a place where I have the freedom to build and create new opportunities for the center. On a goal setting side of that I want to work more on my communication skills and ability to have difficult conversations. Overall the semester here has been great, especially working my hours with other Bonners and I am very hopeful for the rest of the semester.

  10. Mara Golden says:

    My service site is the More House. My main role is accountability but I am also helping Sam with recruitment. I am currently reading through over 300 applications to see who we plan on interviewing throughout the semester. A professional goal of mine is to keep up with open communication so there is a flow to the recruitment process. Another goal of mine is to focus on time management between recruitment and accountability.

  11. Abby James-Vickery says:

    My service site is the Connect Center for Youth. My main role there is to recruit volunteers and create a solid volunteer program. My role has shifted a little bit, as I am now focused on the food pantry that the Connect Center has taken over. One of my goals is to help the center qualify for the regional food bank! Another one of my goals is to build the relationships with the staff at the connect center so that we can work together to do what is best for the center!

    Have a good week everyone!!!!!

  12. Zinia Noorani says:

    Beyond the Binary
    The main theme of this session was the uniqueness of every individual present in this society. He emphasized the importance of various identities and how we all have different personalities that make us stand out in society. He started the session very enthusiastically asking questions like: “What do we remember? How do we remember? Who decides what we remember?” I think this was a great way to engage the audience and to give them an opportunity to reflect on their lives. He told an anecdote saying that he used to live in a city and because of that all his relatives thought that his family was very rich and was living a great and happy life. He emphasized that how people assume things and just an address could make people think about their lifestyle. No one knew the reality and no one even tried to inquire about that. I believe this is a very valid point and in today’s world, we tend to perceive things very easily. Everything that we believe in is mostly our assumptions and not the actual truth. This shows that we act and react faster than we think. We have that mindset to assume anything and everything even at the smallest moment in life if we get to know even very less information we assume or perceive a story and then believe that is what happened but in reality, we should try and understand the true essence of everything we should think and explore beyond our imagination and assumptions. To demonstrate this concept he asked all of us to read the line on the slide as he just flashed it and then closed it, everyone read “Monday is the first day of week.” While, it was written that, “Monday is the, the first week of the week” He then explained that this is exactly what we do in our lives. We are very excited about everything and our subconscious mind just ignores the mistake. I think that this also applies to our real-life connections and relationships that we assume stuff that creates doubts and misunderstandings. He said a really inspiring line that I completely agree with, which was: “We need to be patient so that we don’t become a patient.” I feel that this should give us the motivation to live life peacefully and we should understand and respect the concept of diversity. We should support the idea that everyone has a different personality, everyone can have different opinions and everyone has the right to live life on their own terms so we should just support them and not judge them for what they are doing or what they feel. I believe that thinking that every person we meet will think like us is the biggest mistake and the universe itself has proven this. We can understand this by a very simple example that even if twins are born in the family and they are brought up the exact same way, they are given the exact same values then also they can turn out to be completely different personalities, so we should understand and acknowledge the fact that everyone is different and that is the way we were created and we are meant to be. Lastly, he also discussed intersectionality which literally means recognizing two or more identities at the same time. While talking about himself he said that he is a Black, a Southerner, and a spiritual person. He emphasized that anyone can recognize himself with any of these identities it may be more than 3 also but each of us should remain grounded in those identities and should respect the boundaries of each identity. He also said, “This is a world that stretches us to 2 poles by peer pressure and it is our responsibility to stay grounded.” I believe this is completely true we should never change our objective and purpose of life based on someone else’s choices.

  13. Ava Bibisi says:

    My service site is the SpinaBifida Association of Northeastern NY. I am currently serving virtually, however hope to move to in person in the future. My main role at my site is to develop marketing strategies and campaigns for the organization’s annual fundraisers. I also help with some of the event planning and budgeting. A professional goal I would like to achieve this semester is to grow my relationships at my site. Being virtual, it is much harder to have a formal relationship with my supervisor and the other board members at SBANENY. I hope to be able to get more in-person time at my site and continue to stay as much involved virtually as possible.

  14. Samantha Lunt says:

    My service sites this semester are the Connect Center and Program Associate. At the Connect Center I am starting to work on my capstone and getting to help out at the after school program. A professional goal I would like to achieve at the Connect Center this Semester is to create different after schools programs because this will be my first step in working on my capstone. As a PA I am working on recruitment this semester for the class of 2026. A professional goal I have for recruitment is to have a successful semester and recruit 10-12 new Bonners.

  15. Elizabeth MacMurray says:

    The Beyond the Binary presentation impacted so much more than I thought it would. The part of the presentation that spoke the most to me was when CJ stated that relationships are important in order to call people in. I never really thought of it that way but it makes sense that in order to create change to someone with oppressive ideals, forming a relationship with them or at least not avoid a relationship with them could lead to you impacting those oppressive ideals and changing them. Another thing that stood out to me was when CJ explained that identities that are oppressed, shouldn’t be the only ones standing up against those oppressors. I think this lesson is always a important once to learn and hear because some people may be hesitant to stand up for others due to uncertainty or fear of conflict but at the end of the day, equality is what everyone should strive for. Conflict is important in instances like this and it reminded me that I have a choice to stand up for what I believe in and try to push to see a world where people aren’t discriminated against for their identity.

  16. Katie Lindsay says:

    I thought the “Beyond the Binary” presentation by CJ was really interesting and engaging. I learned so much about the way we address differences in our society and how we can do better to embrace diversity in how we acknowledge them. It was unique to see a presenter perform spoken word or poetry as part of the program and I’m glad I got to see and hear it. Also CJ’s approach to accepting differences was one I hadn’t heard before: bridging and not picking sides, letting people who demonstrate ignorance grow at their own rate and continue leading with love. I still feel like ‘stay in the room’ and keep ties does not apply to everyone, especially as CJ mentioned that if someone’s safety and mental health is at risk, it might not be an option. That goes to show how marginalized individuals, especially those part of more than one discriminated community, may experience more oppression and fear in such a way with loved ones and strangers, which does not sit right with me. It felt important that the audience was shown the pyramid of violence for those who didn’t learn about it in school, because I think to deter hate in the Siena community, students should be aware of the repercussions of their actions and what our affinity groups and diversity centers serve to work against. Afterwards, I feel that myself and other attendees are better equipped to understand how we break binaries because of how CJ defined and explored the concept of intersectionality with everyone. In educating us on it and having us participate in an interactive activity where we witnessed our own and everyone else’s multiple identities, we learned how we identify in a variety of ways, some identities shared with a lot of people, some with not as many, which intrigued me. And for students in groups predominant on campus and in our country, it was a chance to acknowledge privileges too, and think on them. Finally, I noticed a connection between the content and ACE focus this semester in reference to claiming your spaces and communities being radical, being open, and calling people in not out. And methods to return to an uncomfortable conversation as a form of self care, when we see or experience ‘blockers’ in action, and take a breath to be in our ‘brave spaces’, which I think holding intersectional identities are very much examples of people living in their brave spaces.

  17. Jackson Regan says:

    Although I didn’t relate to the Beyond the Binary event well, I did like how CJ tried his best to make it not just a lecture, and always keep us laughing. The one point I liked was how he treats people who think differently about issues and things with love, even if he sees their view as wrong. I think that’s a message that everyone needs to hear in today’s climate with regards to social and political topics

  18. Michelle Villa says:

    Going to Beyond the Binary, I didn’t really know what I was going into and had no idea what to expect for the event. I really loved the event because it had a good balance of participation and listening to Cj speak. I like the popping and sizzling activity because we got to be ourselves and it felt like I wasn’t being put in the spotlight when I got up because I was never alone when I got up. I love how Bonner is getting more involved in events and I hope we have more Wednesday Night meetings like this in the future.

  19. Victoria Taco says:

    Walking into the Beyond the Binary meeting I did not think I would relate to it as much as I did. With the activity of the popping and sizzling I was able to connect with the people around me. I was able to see who had things in common with me and who faced similar challenges which was definitely not something I originally expected walking into the talk. I was able to relate to Cj’s religious background and upbringing. Hearing someone say all the words that I have thought about before was reassuring. I had similar experiences where I would question where I belonged because of religion, because I thought I never amounted to what was expected of me. Hearing how he broke away from one category and how he separated his identify from religion yet keeping it apart of his life was inspiring. From what I took away from his talk was that there is no need to classify an identity, just be you.

  20. Giavanna Pitagno says:

    My site is AVillage and the South End Night Market project. I am currently serving as the Night Market Manager- and during this off season my primary role is planning and overseeing vendor and volunteer onboarding, booking programming aspects (such as music, fitness classes, and kids activities), and brainstorming new ideas for the market.

    My professional goal for this semester is to improve not only my skills in communication and outreach (in particular, over the phone), but to gain my confidence in it as well. I have struggled in the past at AVillage feeling comfortable and confident reaching out to vendors and partners that I don’t know. I felt as if I did not have enough knowledge of the non-profit as a whole to confidently ask for collaboration. However, now that I am entering my second year working with AVillage, I am definitely more comfortable expanding my position.

  21. Sarah Ahmed says:

    I walked into Cj’s keynote expecting him to only speak on being a nonbinary black man. While that would’ve still been a great talk, he asked us what groups we belonged to and spoke heavily about intersectionality. Intersectionality is a topic we’ve discussed a few times in Bonner, but I don’t think we speak about it enough and its definitely present in most of the meetings we hold. What struck me the most about his talk though is how he said that no longer speaking to a family member or best friend of differing political or moral beliefs is not what we should be doing.
    In the past two years especially, as a society we have stopped being able to disagree and discuss our differences with others who think differently than us. I too have done this and I lost a valuable friendship as a result. I truly thought I was doing the right thing morally because their beliefs were not kind. Instead of pushing her away though, I had the chance to pull her in and try to have a healthy conversation. I think that one of the only ways to fix the current polarization is to have these talks with people we disagree with and if they do not want to speak to us, then we have to be patient with them and wait as hard as it is.

  22. Nancy Rasmussen says:

    My service site this year is Columbia High School. I am the English teacher for two ninth grade honors classes, a tenth grade regular class, and a ninth grade inclusion class. I make lessons everyday for each of my classes with the goal of making each one more fun and engaging than the last!

    A professional goal I would like to achieve at my site this semester is learning more technology tools to use in my classroom. I think it is important to incorporate various technology tools to keep up with the times.

  23. Abeer Jafri says:

    My service site this semester is Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region. My role is an ophthalmic technician, so I do patient intake and all of the pre testing before they see the doctors. My professional goal is to develop more leadership skills and confidence in communicating with patients, as well as working well together with other staff at the office to make sure patient needs are met efficiently. I also hope to apply skills learned at Bonner and my other site Unity House, such as working with people of different backgrounds and how to have better cultural competency.

  24. Michael Averill says:

    My in-person service site this semester is the Refugee Welcome Center located in the West Hill neighborhood of Albany. I have been working with this nonprofit since the summer of 2020 when I was on an AmeriCorps team. We continued the project in summer 2021 and now I have continued to do service at the RWC this academic year. This semester my main two roles will be to assist in English language classes and help run programming for the youth in the neighborhood. I enjoy both of these forms of direct service because I get to interact with community members in person each week. Professionally, I am very excited to teach during the English classes this semester, which I will also be able to count towards my field hours for my TESOL class (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). This will also give me great experience in the education field which will help prepare me for my graduate program that will begin this summer. I am excited for to have a really beneficial and productive final semester of Bonner service!

  25. Rachel+Gifford says:

    My service site this semester is Food Pantries for the Capital District. My main role there is network coordinating. Essentially I help with their online site Oasis, which catalogs who visits the many different food pantries in the Capital District and what services they receive. I make sure that their data is up to date and clean up the duplicate cases. A professional goal I would like to achieve this semester is to learn more about my site and its offerings as well as learn how to run the behind-the-scenes parts of Oasis better because usually, my site leader provides me with most of the data.

  26. Nia Colon says:

    My service site for this semester will be the Albany Med Pediatric Floor. My main role during this experience will be to work under my preceptor and work together on patient care. My professional goal for my site this semester would be to have a better understanding of the pediatric population and their most frequent illness. My second goal would be to effectively fit into the role of the nurse as a leader.

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