5 Reasons to Join Civic House

 

Dear Potential New Civic House Scholars,

Do it. It’s worth it.

My name is Xavier Adomatis, and I am a part of the current Civic House cohort. At this time last year I was very on the fence about joining Civic House. I joined the cohort simply because I wanted to be a part of a designated group, to be special. Honestly, that was the best decision I’ve ever made, even if it wasn’t for the right reason.

I’m writing this letter to you so you can make an informed decision, unlike mine. If you’re doing your research, and talking to the right people, you’ll probably hear the words “service leadership program” until you don’t know what it means anymore. I know that can get repetitive and tiring, and doesn’t tell you how civic house is different or better than other programs. So instead of telling you what Civic House is, let me tell you what it can do for you:

Civic House is your family, and that’s the first thing you’ll notice. Right off the bat, you have a group of peers that support you, a team of upperclassmen ready to mentor you, and graduate and professional staff that are at your side. Civic House gave me a squad from the start, including people to study with, explore with, and have fun with. When I needed advice, help navigating GW, or connections within student orgs, I had sophomore mentors that had been in my shoes the year before. Though the relationships you form seem artificial at first, the people you meet on your first day of freshman year become your friends forever. Not only that, they become your family.

Civic House encourages you to explore your passions in a way that benefits the community. If you’re interested in homelessness, hunger, urban sustainability, mass incarceration, social justice, gentrification, race issues, or LGBT problems, you’re coming to the right place. Civic House is a community of scholars passionate about social issues that are here to support you in your projects, collaborate with you to solve issues, provide help with their own connections, and ensure that you’re doing the best service. You could go into service alone, but Civic House gives you the resources to do it right.

Civic House gives you connections by not only bonding you with service oriented peers, but by bonding you with the D.C. community as a whole. Through your service, you will open so many doors within the community. I started volunteering with an organization based out of an elementary school, and it brought me connections at the World Wildlife Fund, D.C. Public Schools, and the D.C. Department of General Services. While that might not mean anything to you now, knowing people is an excellent way to land jobs and internships. I was actually hired by the organization I partnered with. Because of Civic House, I got a purposeful job as a freshman, which is hard to do.

Civic House builds your résumé, literally and figuratively. Early on in the semester, one of our mentors held a résumé building workshop, which was crucial in career development. However Civic House also adds to the content. While most special programs, particularly honors programs, can be simplified to a single line or phrase, the work you do for Civic House looks great for employers. Here’s the excerpt from my resume:

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CIVIC HOUSE SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM                                                                                                    Washington, DC

Civic House Scholar                                                                                                                                          August 2017-Present

  • Serve over 100 hours to understand the dimensions of community engagement through the intensive study of the six pathways of service to holistically view societal issues resulting in greater civic consciousness.

  • Collaborate with 30 scholars and program alumni to develop methods of community outreach within the DC area to address issues such as food insecurity, childhood nutrition, and urban sustainability.

  • Design and implement a yearlong project with the purpose to significantly benefit food insecurity by utilizing concepts learned through the continual study of the six pathways of service.

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Though I went a little overboard on my service hours (Civic House only required 25 first semester), all the work I did in Civic House has drastically improved my marketability.

Finally, Civic House teaches you skills, both through the curriculum and the experiences. Within the classes you learn about effective leadership and service, and how to write about both. These skills are valuable and sought after in the real world. Beyond that, you learn how to become part of a community: the Civic House community, the GW community, and the D.C. community. The two courses you’ll take, “Citizen Leadership” and “Writing for Social Change,” in conjunction with the experience you gain through service and community, help form you into a conscientious and well-rounded leader.

Ultimately, Civic House develops you as a person and prepares you for life after college. What I’ve gained from Civic House is more valuable than any other choice I could have made. I wish you luck in your decision.

Best Regards,

Xavier