What About Reverse Community Service?

Romy Jones, a doctoral student in UMBC’s Language, Literacy & Culture program, is Community Liaison for the Office of Graduate Student Life.

Community service is a well-known concept, practiced in high schools and universities across the country.  But what about reverse community service, an alternative way to partner with communities? A Google search comes up virtually empty, and whenever I tell people about my reverse community service experience I receive stunned looks followed by a moment of silence.

I had the same reaction before traveling to the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico this summer to participate in such service. The idea behind it is a simple one – instead of going to a community to aid in their development, you go to listen and to learn in order to gain new insights and skills that can benefit your own community. This dialogue, in turn, allows the host community to share their ideas, raise awareness of issues affecting their community, and build a solidarity network. [Read more…]