Charissa is a freshman APU student, studying Psychology, from Torrence, California. She has an older brother who graduated from Azusa Pacific University, who also worked as an SLA in the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research. Charissa feels blessed to be able to be a Service-Learning Advocate, following in her brother’s footsteps.
She has loved getting to know her fellow teammates, creating deep bonds of friendship and support. Charissa has also gained a great deal of professional development as an SLA. At home, she works for her county’s Parks and Recreation office, organizing and supervising children in the summer. Being an SLA has given her a different work experience in a more professional business setting, which has challenged her to grow professionally and is preparing her for future, desired positions. She has also been impacted by the freedom to express her spiritual beliefs in and outside the office. This is something she has not experienced in past positions. When her training started with a devotional by the assistant director of the CASLR, Charissa felt an immediate and positive difference.
Charissa is in charge of most of the Physical Education Service-Learning courses, as well as two new Service-Learning courses, all involving partnerships with Azusa Unified School District (AUSD). Prospective teachers get the chance to be involved in classrooms from elementary to high school classes, teaching lessons and tutoring. Charissa’s goals for this semester are to continue to develop the strength and growth of her two new programs, as well as increasing her personal professional development.
Charissa has always dreamed of being a teacher, which has been reinforced by her opportunities as an SLA, facilitating discussion periods with APU students during evaluations. She is always encouraged by their sharing of life-changing experiences. Charissa’s top strengths are Empathy, Woo, Solver, Individualism, and Developer. She loves being able to solve problems that arise and is learning how to work best with people who are different than herself.
Mary C. Pearce is the Graduate Assistant Coordinator for Student Professional Development and Program Support at the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research, Working on a Masters of Science in College Counseling and Student Development