Community Mentor Reflection: Katie Lloyd '17

Reflection By: Katie Lloyd '17

As a new student on campus I was excited about the opportunity to get involved in my new community, meet new people, and get to know St. Lawrence County. I was first introduced to the CBL office my first year here at St Lawrence, through my First Year Seminar. I was placed with the Free Will Meal Program and was immediately shocked by the immense need that is so close to our campus. People, who live down the street from our school, go to bed without dinner.  The unemployment and poverty of this county hits families and individuals extremely hard. It is this unfortunate circumstance that draws many people to the Free Will Meal Program. Sadly, loneliness is another factor that draws people to this program. They are simply searching for some social interaction. This experience truly opened my eyes to the world and completely changed me. I became obsessed with social justice and service. As the semester and my placement with the program began to end, I knew that I had to continue this work.

This experience motivated me to apply for a position as a Community Mentor. Now, as a senior, I am still deeply involved in the CBL office. This experience has helped me in immeasurable ways, from taking me to the IMPACT conference where I was able to learn about service learning with other like-minded students from across the country to professional development workshops that taught me how to stay organized and conduct myself in a professional manner. The CBL office has helped me discover what I want to do with my career. Throughout my three years working for the office, I have been the Community Mentor for the Free Will Meal Program each semester, allowing me to form close relationships and a deep bond with the program that will always mean so much to me.  Through the Free Will Meal Program, I have been able to work with fellow students, make a positive difference in my new community, and form strong bonds with community members. In addition, I was able to learn and explore social justice issues impacting our country, community, and campus.

Next year, I am off to graduate school to obtain my Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. My plans are to work at a Women’s Center, counseling survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. I know that I would not be on this path had it not been for my eye opening and transformative experiences with the CBL office.