Hoya Paxa

DC Schools Project: An Inclusive Option for Faith and Service

It’s that time of year again: the end of the spring semester. As finals come to a close and I prepare for my next journey—a summer and semester abroad and Yogyakarta, Indonesia—I find myself reflecting on some of my most memorable and meaningful experiences of my time at Georgetown. Although overcoming academic challenges and time spent with friends come to mind, the largest impact by far has come through my work with the D.C. Schools Project (DCSP).

A program at Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, DCSP provides English language access to Washington, D.C.’s immigrant community through English tutoring. I started my work with DCSP as a tutor during my freshman year and coordinated the Tubman Elementary School program for the past two semesters. DCSP attracts a large pool of Georgetown students from various backgrounds who are all passionate about education and immigration issues facing our community. Through my interactions with my colleagues, I have had the privilege of learning about their own personal stories and what has brought them to their work. 

For many, the call to join DCSP came from a moral standpoint guided by a religious tradition or personal code of ethics. Through my time with DCSP, I have met Catholics, Baptists, Orthodox Christians, Quakers, atheists, Hindus, and Buddhists. Although all of their faith traditions vary drastically in dogma and doctrine, all of my friends joined DCSP for the same basic reason: to give back to their community and to help strengthen it by contributing their time, skills, and resources.

Although DCSP is not religiously affiliated, I see many similarities between our work and traditional interfaith service work. DCSP is a group of diverse individuals who decide to focus on their similarities instead of their differences in order to achieve a goal. Our progress come through passion: in trusting and valuing the work of our teammates, we are able to create change in our communities. If we are able to do this sort of work without the interreligious service title, then who’s to say we can’t do it with it? If we as a global community approach social injustices through teamwork and setting our differences aside, there’s no limit to the change we will be able to bring about. If we are able to work together rather than be divided over theological differences, only then we will see an end to injustices and suffering.
 
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