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For the past year, Lindsay Martin (C 05) has volunteered at Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service (www.paceebene.org), a small non-profit organization based in Oakland, Calif. The group’s mission is “to develop the spirituality and practice of active nonviolence as a way of living….”
She works on a variety of tasks, including helping to organize trainings, website management and office coordination and communication. Her placement at Pace e Bene is through the Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) unit in San Francisco.
One major project has been to help promote the organization’s new nonviolence curriculum entitled Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living. This book is designed for groups “to learn, practice and experiment with nonviolence.” Engage was used at EMU this past spring in the Strategic Nonviolence class taught by Lisa Schirch.
In addition to her work, she also participates in the organization’s Trainer Development Program. Upon completion, she will be a Pace e Bene certified trainer and hopes to facilitate sessions based on the Engage curriculum over the next several years.
This spring, Lindsay led a workshop in Nashville at a conference for college student activists. Of the nearly 150 workshops, hers was the only one focused on nonviolence.
Expecting around 20 participants, she was amazed as the crowd spread onto the floor and out into the hall. She moved the workshop outside and made her presentation to over 80 people. She was delighted that “many young people are developing a strong desire to reframe our culture and world … to make it a place where nonviolence is an option.”
Lindsay decided to enter MVS after graduation because “it seemed like a great opportunity to combine my desire to go to a new place and stay in community.” Having never lived in a city, she has found many things to love: “the energy, the endless activities and events, bicycles everywhere and beautiful diversity.”
“I don’t think we are adequately prepared for how hard it is to leave college after four years of familiar faces,” she says. “[But] it’s a challenge I try to appreciate because of how much I am learning about myself and the world around me, through the diversity and beauty of this experience.”
Kevin Docherty (C 05) took the plunge immediately after graduation into a special teaching residency in Baltimore, Md. A history and applied sociology major, he became interested in teaching after a cross-cultural semester in South Africa. There he began to feel that “education is the most powerful way to bring about positive change in a community or society.”
The Baltimore City Teaching Residency has placed nearly 500 new teachers into the Baltimore City Public School System since 2002. This program is committed to improving the quality of education in Baltimore public schools, particularly those identified as high-need. In addition to teaching, program residents must earn a teaching certification and may pursue a master’s degree at either Johns Hopkins University or the College of Notre Dame. Day-to-day tasks are standard, from lesson planning and grading papers to working individually with students.
Reflecting on his years at EMU, Kevin says, “I think EMU’s focus on cross-cultural studies and interaction prepared me very well [for my job].” As the overwhelming majority of his students are African-American, the past year “has really been a cross-cultural experience/challenge above all else.”
The emphasis on service that Kevin found at EMU was also valuable. He says, “I wouldn’t have made it this far if I hadn’t had the sense that teaching is a form of service.” A relaxed attitude has also been an important coping mechanism. Describing teaching as “an emotional roller coaster,” he realizes that “a good sense of humor is just about the best mechanism for coping with stress. I would never survive if I couldn’t laugh at myself, my students or the school environment as a whole.”
Kevin plans on finishing the rest of his threeyear commitment at Baltimore City Teaching Residency and then “reevaluating, perhaps going back to school full time.” Somewhere in the midst of the frustrations and joys, Kevin has become quite taken with teaching: “It’s a safe bet that anything I do in the future will be closely related, whether it’s school administration, education policy work or more teaching.”
–Andrew Jenner (C 04)