Nia Alvarez-Mapp, a junior at Cabrini University, approaches civic engagement with dialogue, goal setting, and mutual respect as the base. Over the past year, she has become one our premiere students when it comes to faith-based organizing. She runs a local chapter of POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild), and has grown student involvement from just a handful to two dozen regulars. She does this because she cares about the health and safety of community organizers. Her constant mantra is that we must be committed "mind, body, and soul."
Listing her community engagement efforts may seem trite: she registers voters, lobbies for funding for arts education, tutors high school students, and leads a Girl Scout unit. More importantly, I'd like to use her words to explain why she is an amazing citizen and the ideal candidate for this position: "civic duty means that the powers belongs to the people, and no one else."
Being civically involved was not an option for me. It was a requirement. I always wanted to help people ,and speaking out against injustices was the best way I knew to do that. Since I was little I have been involved with community engagement, and my goal has been to leave a lasting impact on every place I encounter. That's why I needed to do more than just volunteer. Being a student leader on my campus helped me to research, bring awareness to, and lobby for issues including education reform, food insecurity, and interfaith cooperation. This helps me make a real difference, because civic duty means the power belongs to the people, and we have the power to act and make positive change.