Newman Civic Fellow Named
Posted on Monday April 1st 2013
Kia Burton McLaughlin, 26, of Greenfield joins 180 other student leaders from across the country who have been named as 2013 Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact. Kia, in her second year at Greenfield Community College and newly elected President of the Student Senate, was nominated for the award by GCC President Bob Pura. Kia was chosen to recognize her community service within the GCC community and beyond. Campus Compact, a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents, promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps forge effective community/campus partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.
Kia is studying liberal arts at GCC to gain a better understanding of how society works. She plans to work with youth in after-school educational and community enrichment programs and wants to have a systemic understanding of the challenges those youth face. After receiving her Associate degree from GCC, Kia intends to work toward a Bachelor’s degree and possibly a Master’s degree.
In nominating Kia, President Pura said, “The Newman Civic Fellows award stands for those qualities, values, and principles that are so clearly demonstrated in the makeup and personality of Kia Burton McLaughlin. It is who she is, but more, it is what she does on a daily basis. She is inspirational to her fellow students, GCC faculty, and to me for those reasons. Kia represents and personifies all that is good in education and the opportunities it provides. Kia is the change that we want for our world and our community.”
At GCC, along with serving as President of the Student Senate, Kia is a member of the New Student Orientation Planning Committee and an Orientation Leader. During Orientation, Kia co-facilitates a group for student parents. She also serves as a peer mentor for a college success class for women in transition and works at GCC’s Mary Stewart Rogers Women’s Resource Center. Kia has been involved with GCC’s diversity committee and helped plan service activities for a day of service on Martin Luther King Day. Kia was instrumental in students in recovery securing space on campus for social and educational programs and meetings. She helped plan “Love Your Body” day with staff and students from the Women’s Resource Center.
In Summer 2012, Kia served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate for 10 weeks. In that position, she worked with Judy Raper, GCC’s Director of Student Development, and Rosemarie Freeland, Coordinator of GCC’s Women’s Resource Center. Kia’s position focused on returning adult students and building connections between GCC and three community social service agencies: Montague Catholic Social Services, The Recover Project, and the Center for New Americans. Kia helped GCC and the agencies understand the resources they each provide for the agencies’ clients who are future GCC students. She strategized about how to help future students get in the door at GCC and stay at GCC. Kia provided an orientation to GCC for staff of the agencies, helping them be comfortable with the campus and its services so they could convey that comfort and information to their agency’s clients.
After-school programs were a major support for Kia when she was a child, and where she got started on the path of community engagement she follows today. Growing up in Boston, she was involved in City Year, Girl Scouts, JFK Library Corps, and Citizens School. In those programs, she met a wide range of people and was exposed to many different communities. Kia attended Greenfield High School and as a student there was a peer mediator, a member of Key Club, and involved in UNITY ( a Community Coalition for Teens collaboration with GHS for social norms marketing). She served as a peer leader for H.E.A.T (Help Educate Against Tobacco) in Greenfield through FCAC Youth Programs, glad to have an empowering job that was different than the fast food industry jobs in which many of her peers worked.
Reflecting on her commitment to serving her community, Kia said, “Community service comes in all shapes and forms. If everybody made a commitment to do some form of service, from donating money to volunteering time, the community would look so different. Community service has a powerful ripple effect, creating change that is broad and deep and goes far beyond the initial act of service. One of the ways my community service ripples onward is through my children. It is very important to me to expose my children firsthand to community service and my pursuit of higher education. It is wonderful to see my young children participating in the community service we do as a family and looking forward to visiting the GCC campus. My children are a huge motivator for all that I do.”
Director of Student Development Judy Raper recognizes Kia’s special qualities, saying, “I have been in higher education for over twenty five years. There are a handful of student leaders who stand out in my mind as individuals who have had a transformative impact on the campuses in which they studied. Kia is one of those people. When Kia graduates, she will leave a tremendous void on this campus that will be difficult to fill. Her vision, compassion, and creativity have been shared and implemented in our community in unforgettable ways. She is most deserving of this award.”
The Newman Civic Fellows Awards are made possible through the generous support of the KPMG Foundation.
For information about Campus Compact and the Newman Civic Fellows, visit www.compact.org.
By Mary McClintock, ’82
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