Community Engagement – Authentic Voices Really Matter by Jacqueline Fischer

        In the home stretch of my VISTA term of service, I have had the invaluable opportunity to attend all the Shine the Light Forums during my service year. Having attended these forums I have gained wisdom and insights from the great minds that have been leaders in Greenville’s nonprofit landscape. While I always enjoy these events, this one I found to be particularly engaging. The speaker, Jonathan Parker, was enthusiastic and captivating as he spoke about his own experiences and the experiences of his children as curious members of the global community. The energy exuded by Jonathan kept the conversations deep yet unobtrusive, something that not just any speaker can facilitate.
        The topic of building walls and then identifying how to break them down was something I really enjoyed discussing in this forum’s Innovation Labs. A lot of times, with topics like this one, the go-to phrase for not creating the hypothetical ‘walls’ that we build is to; be mindful. While being mindful is important, and an essential step in removing the ‘walls’ we build, it is not the only step. I appreciated that the handout had bricks to fill in what things build our ‘walls’ and then hammers on the other side, to reflect on what things we can do to tear those walls down.
        If I had to choose just one thing that I took away from this Shine the Light Forum it would be a sentiment from Jonathan that really stood out to me; if perspective is how you view yourself/your situations and perception is how you view others/their situations, then we run into problems when perception trumps perspective. It’s a reminder that as much as you might try to imagine standing in that persons shoes, you’re still standing in their shoes with a lifetime of your experiences, not theirs. Keep your perception in perspective.
Jacqueline Fischer

Jacqueline Fischer was born and raised in the suburbs of Connecticut. She attended Furman University and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Jacqueline has remained in Greenville since graduation and is currently completing a year of national service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Little Steps while pursuing a Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies from The Citadel.

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