Chrisolovanti Beckus, a third year student at Montclair State University is committed to civic engagment. For the past two years he has worked closely with The Side Door, an after-school drop-in program designed to provide middle school students a healthy and productive alternative to loitering and engaging in other risky behaviors associated with unattended youth.
I am committed to civic engagement, especially community development, and have been very lucky to both serve in the Bonner program, and get to study ways to improvement engagement through my academics. Being a Bonner leader has greatly defined the type of person I have become through the hours of volunteer work I have accomplished. The work I have done through the numerous organizations I have worked with as a Bonner has allowed me to understand how to work with groups to address the needs that many communities have. Through civic engagement and the work I have done at Side Door, an afterschool program in Montclair which provides a safe space for middle school students to have fun on Friday afternoons and stay out of trouble, I have learned to realize that the greatest thing a volunteer or anyone can give to someone is time. One can easily see the satisfaction the kids get every week when they see each volunteer there, in the way they light up when they see us. These bonds that are created between the kids and volunteers are ones that the kids and volunteers take away and will always remember as being impactful to both. Civic Engagement is meant to create a sense of community and to strengthen it amongst its people, and at any service activity I take part in that is the goal I set to achieve.