Murat Emre Kayan is a Turkish student studying Web Development at Edmonds Community College (EdCC) through the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program. At EdCC, we are lucky to have an active service learning department at that coordinates great opportunities for NWCCI students to engage with and give back to the local community. In this blog post, Murat describes a recent day of service learning and the benefits that go along with volunteering.
Every fourth Saturday in October has a significant meaning across the United States; it is Make a Difference Day. This day is a community co-operation event. It was designed by USA Weekend magazine in 1992. It is the largest nationwide opportunity to participate in volunteer activities.
This year, Make a Difference Day was on October 25 and majority of the Edmonds NWCCI students participated in a service learning activity coordinated by the Service Learning team at EdCC. We were at Gold Park in the Stolja Ali Ethnobotanical Garden, also known as “Place of Medicine”. Our primary goals were removing invasive plants and picking up the garbage in the park. City of Lynnwood described the history of Gold Park on their website as:
“In 1954, Barbara and Morris Gold bought the property and built a 5-bedroom house for their family. Dr. Gold ran an obstetrics practice in the house until 1982. To protect their forested land from development, the Gold family sold it to the City of Lynnwood in 1997, on the condition the property would be preserved as a park. The City purchased the land with a Snohomish County Conservation Futures grant, which requires Gold Park to remain a passive park with no active recreational uses.”
When we arrived, we checked in, and after safety instructions we chose our jobs. We were responsible
for picking up garbage in and around the park. Other groups were responsible for removing invasive plants, and so on. After cleaning the park, we gathered and listened stories by the Snohomish Tribe around a campfire. After great traditional stories about the tribe, it was time for lunch, and I discovered a new food! Yes, it was clam chowder.
This day I improved my understanding about volunteerism; about helping and serving people, the environment and to our world without expecting anything in return. Additionally, it contributed to my ability to work efficiently with teams in a positive way and expanded my history and general knowledge. Moreover, I am looking forward to volunteering for the next Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) School activity which will be during the winter quarter.
For more information about Gold Park’s history, you may watch this interview by Thuyvi Nguyen here.
I would also like to give photo credit to Ina Dash and special thanks to Anna Michel.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.