Student Spotlight: Yareqzy Munoz , Class of 2020
Hometown: Chicago, IL
What are you currently doing with Civic House?
Currently, I am a Community Partner Liaison and facilitate the Community Engagement Program. In this position, I help students volunteer at a community partner organization of their choice and lead bi-weekly workshops for reflection using Civic House's Social Justice Framework. These workshops promote reflexive thought processes, dedication, and a greater understanding of one's own identity.
What made you get involved with Civic House?
Becoming a Civic Scholar was my earliest entry point into Civic House. I also participated in PennCORP, a pre-orientation program for incoming freshman. After that experience I realized that Civic House was an environment that fostered community through love, mentorship, and kindness. I am now working as a Community Partner Liaison for my second year.
Describe your favorite civic engagement experience. What did you take away from this experience?
I love volunteering at Moder Patshala, an educational center for Bangladeshi students, because of the relationships I have developed with the students and staff. They've become my closest friends in Philadelphia, and tutoring there is stimulating and fun.
Describe your most challenging or thought-provoking civic engagement experience. What did you take away from this experience?
I think going into any community that is different from your own is difficult and thought-provoking. In this way, Moder Patshala is both my favorite and most difficult civic engagement experience.I am challenged to think about my identity and the positionality of my identity within that space. I am challenged to consider the experiences of immigrant groups outside of my own and learn how to effectively connect with children, who are navigating experiences that I can only relate to on some level. Through this work I have come to a new understanding of what dedication and commitment truly is.
What are your civic engagement interests?
I am interested in working with immigrant communities through legal, educational, and social service work. I ardently value radical love and thought and want to continue the work of developing these principles within youth of both immigrant and queer communities.
Why are you passionate about civic engagement?
Growing up in a low income family, civic engagement helped me develop an understanding of hope and reflect on my service on a larger scale. Civic engagement was something I learned from my mother, as she cleaned at a church. While she cleaned, I made sure to participate in one-time service acts. Service and civic engagement become a part of my childhood and it has grown to be something that I associate with my happiness.
How do you wish to make an impact?
I place my work in a larger map; I picture it on a larger scale. The civic engagement I participate in allows me to map meaningful experiences with my activism and my career goals. Through all of these steps, and little by little, I am hopeful that I am impactful.
What do you do outside of Civic House?
Outside of Civic House, I am a member of Penn for Immigrant Rights and conduct research for a professor on immigrants patterns in Philadelphia. In my personal time, I enjoy dining at my favorite restaurants in Philly, and I write creatively and independently.
What advice would you give to students looking to become more involved in civic engagement?
I think many students view civic engagement as something that is difficult to fit within their day to day life. And while civic engagement does take dedication, commitment, self reflection and learning, civic engagement is meaningful when students prioritize it as such. If you're interested, don't fret the first steps because once you immerse yourself in a civic engagement experience, you will receive a new outlook on life.