Do not let the title fool you, this post is not about Kiki. However, it is about the relationships I have gained and strengthened this summer at the Boys and Girls Club. Earlier in this experience I wrote about the importance of collaboration in the movement to increase opportunity for marginalized groups. This movement is impossible without fostering positive relationships with other change agents. At the BGCC, I have had nothing but positive experiences with my coworkers. I also believe that I have established relationships that will extend beyond this 10-week program.
As I continue my pursuit of my PhD, I hope to continue to support the vision and mission of the BGCC. I have had conversations with some of the BGCC staff about having critical conversations with potential BGCC volunteers. Moreover, we discussed them attending one of my seminar courses at Ohio State.
That being said, work-related support does not effectively define the relationships I have gained this summer. We have had critical conversations about the directions of the BGCC, shared personal aspirations, and how we have been influenced by societal forces. I believe this is an underappreciated part of societal change. Scholars, community members, parents, politicians, and students all talk about making a difference in society, but these plans often do not include how we strengthen our relationships. Although I do not subscribe to the argument that a person should cater to societal norms for the sake of “impacting a larger group of people,” I do believe that relationships are the foundation of societal change. This means that people who may be perpetuating inequitable structures may decide to alter their ideology once a relationship is established. But, we cannot jeopardize our belief in the immense value of all people. Finding this balance is a lifelong lesson.
In conclusion, this summer has given me an opportunity to see more ways building relationships have a real impact. BGCC has got me in my feelings!