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Essays on Civic Engagement

This Is Your Democracy

Jude-Samuels In Honor of the Lanky Laughing Boy Judith Samuels Marion

My name is Judith Samuels, and I am a lesbian who migrated here in March of 2017 from the beautiful laid- back island of Jamaica. That same year, while waiting for my work authorization, I enrolled in Clemente because I believe that education is the way one advances in society. I am also a human rights activist for the LGBT community and people living with HIV and AIDS, and since graduating from Clemente in 2018 I have been focused on starting my own non-profit to help teens and elderly people with HIV and AIDS. ... Learn more

Felicia-Gasque-Wilson A New Path to Community Service Felicia Gasque-Wilson Springfield

Felicia Gasque-Wilson born and raised in Springfield Massachusetts, is a devoted and dedicated wife and mother of four. She is a twenty-one year employee of the Springfield Public Schools and a part-time personal care assistant. Felicia is a faithful member of Greater Harvest Church of God in Christ and has a will, desire, and purpose to live for the Lord and lead her family into greatness! ... Learn more

M.Toni-Hall Recognizing the Need for Civic Engagement M. Toni McComb Hall Springfield

M. Toni McComb Hall relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts, from Hartford, Connecticut in June of 2006. Through involvement in her new local church, Toni was given the opportunity to become a volunteer camera person for the Springfield City Council meetings. This was an eye opening experience and sparked an interest in her local community and the need for change. Toni later became a volunteer mentor for the Hampden County Sheriff's Department through the All Inclusive Support Services program and has been serving individuals returning to the community for over ten years. For the past two years, she has served on the Community Accountability Board also through the Hampden County Sheriff's Department. Toni currently holds a B.S. in human services through Springfield College and is working on her masters degree in biblical studies (expected graduation June 2021) and doctorate in theology through the New York Christian Bible College. Toni is also a certified chaplain and loves to serve the community both spiritually and naturally. ... Learn more

A Community in Recovery Rochelle Bascom Springfield

I am a student from the Springfield Massachusetts Clemente Course, class of 2020-21. I never finished high school, but in the early nineties I managed to acquire my G.E.D. I really never liked school growing up. I was in special education as a kid and I was teased a lot in school so I tried not to be there as much as possible. Then life happened. I never really gave school another thought, until one day I was at one of my programs and the director came up to me and handed me a flyer about The Clemente Course. I pondered going back to school. It's been so long since I have been in a classroom and it was taking all my concentration just to stay sober for a day, but that paper kept looking at me! My old addict thinking kicked in for a moment telling me, "You can’t do it--you’re too old.” I prayed about it, and I spoke to my mom about it; she is a big part of my support system. She told me, “Shelley [that’s my nickname in my family], you can do this. You are so smart. Try it, please.” So I applied. The whole time all I kept saying to myself, “Shell, you got this. You can do this.” And I did it, I got in, I got accepted! I was so excited I had to share it with everyone. The Clemente Courses have taught me a lot. One lesson was never to give up, no matter how hard it gets. Ask for help--there is plenty to go around if you just ask. I am now nearing the end, headed for graduation and this has been the best learning experience in my whole life. I very much enjoyed my classes and hope to continue with my education. A sincere thanks to Mass Humanities and all of my professors who brought me on my journey to a brighter future. ... Learn more

Yuanli Wang Teaching Chinese and Building Community Yuanli Wang

Yuanli Wang holds a master’s degree in Education, has twenty-plus years of ESL teaching experience, and is fluent in English and Chinese. She is skilled at communication and developing relationships with students and their families. ... Learn more

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