In addition to the Service Events put on by your MAPH Mentors (e.g., the City Farms event September 11th) throughout the year, the University Community Service Center puts on Service Match. Service Match is a way for you to go beyond simply volunteering once or twice during the year. By consistently engaging with one organization through the year, you can focus your service to really benefit an organization and make the most of your volunteer time. Put on by the University Community Service Center, Service Match facilitates consistent service by selecting a limited number of talented MA students, partnering with a local non-profit, and offering participants the chance to give teach backs and reflect on their volunteer work.
There will be a Service Match Informational Meeting at 10:30am on Wednesday, September 18 in Classics 110 with Crystal Coats (cpernell at uchicago dot edu), the Community Service Advisor from the University Community Service Center (UCSC). Curious? Read on!
5 Reasons to Apply for Service Match:
1. This is what the humanities are for: connecting your studies with life outside the academy.
From the website: “MAPH’s Service Core is a series of events meant to ask: ‘What does humanistic research have to do with the world outside of the academy?’ and ‘How might academic work be usefully informed by an ethic of service?’ This autumn, MAPHers did a day of service at The Resource Center’s City Farm, a non-profit environmental education center and urban garden. This year, MAPH partnered with the University’s Community Service Center to offer the Service Match program. A few qualified MAPH students applied to volunteer with the SISTERS, Inc. organization, a leadership and mentoring program for young women ages 11-18. In upcoming quarters, MAPH volunteers will work in other Chicago non-profits and schools to continue the conversation about how an MA in the Humanities can prepare them for careers and lives that include service.”
2. Professional Experience
You’re thinking of being employed at some point in the future? Awesome! Service Match is a great way to gain experience–last year’s volunteers spent their time teaching and tutoring through Sisters, Inc., which paired MA students with high schoolers to help them establish self-esteem and professional skills. In other words, MAPH volunteers gained invaluable preparation for working as full time educators. And while it may only be September, the next nine months are going to fly by and you are going to be so jealous of all your friends who thought ahead and have an awesome experience to talk about in interviews.
Here’s a specific list of skills and experience Service Match partners will provide this year:
· Policy research
· Grant writing and development
· In-classroom teaching
· Marketing and Social Media
· Community Outreach
· Community Development
· Data management, data analysis
3. Get to Know Chicago; Get to Know your Community
Getting involved with a local organization is an excellent way to learn a lot more about your community–both in Hyde Park and in Chicago more generally. It’s also a great way to be connected with your local community: it’s easy feel like there ought to be more to living/working in Hyde Park than simply going to campus, but it can be difficult to see how you can actually get involved. Conveniently, Service Match provides that structure for you. There are 3 (!) different local organizations you can volunteer with this year through Service Match:
- Sisters, Inc., the same organization from last year’s Service Match, is a leadership and mentoring organization for girls ages 11-18.
- The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club provides a safe, comfortable, age-appropriate after-school environment and programming for children from infancy through 12th grade.
- Coppin Community Center, AME runs a school and food pantry dedicated to improving the local community.
4. Put Something on your Resume
While this sounds similar to #2, having skills is different than having something potential employers will regard as professional experience. You might be great at teaching your younger sibling/cousin/friend how to write, but that’s not the same has having someone endorse you to teach writing through an official program or job. You might be great at doing your own grant writing for conferences, but it’s better to have done grant writing for a non-profit in an official capacity. Sustained, consistent volunteering can go on your resume as work experience–something especially valuable if you don’t have other work experience in a given category or you aren’t planning on working this year.
5. Help other people!!
Self-explanatory. Helping other people is awesome: for you, for them, for the community. Service Match is an easy way for you to do that without having to find opportunities on your own.
That said, if (a) the Service Match organization doesn’t seem like a good fit for you OR (b) you don’t make the final application cut OR (c) you can only commit for one quarter at a time BUT (d) you still really want to get involved with service, not to fear! It’s also possible to be matched on an individual basis. While you won’t have the same infrastructure of the group, you will be able to get involved with consistent service AND get all the benefits you see above (helping others, check!).
In any case, you should definitely come to the Service Match informational meeting at 10:30am on Wednesday, September 18 in Classics 110. It will give you a better sense of how Service Match will work, as well as other potential volunteering opportunities. Questions or concerns about Service Match or individual volunteering? Feel free to contact Crystal Coats (cpernell at uchicago dot edu).
Already convinced and ready to apply? You can find the application here.
General questions, concerns? You know where to find us.