Community Engagement

Fall 2016

Weekly Response Sample

Here is a sample of the weekly response – it is also your guide to using this site!

To make a post, log in to the site and enter the student username and password – these will be provided by the instructor.

Once you are logged in, you will see a sidebar on the left-hand side. This is where you will be able to add your weekly response. Click My Site and select the Community Engagement

Be sure to click add post (not page — these are different and function differently on the website).

Title your weekly responses as follows: “Week _: Your Name”

Enter your response in to the main text section.

IMPORTANT: You will need to categorize your post. In the sidebar, click Categories & Tags.
Here, you will need to check Weekly Responses and the corresponding week for your response (i.e. this post is categorized as Weekly Responses and Week 5).

You can save drafts of your post if you want to come back to it later, but make sure that when you are ready to submit your response, click publish.

When posting a comment: be sure to start with Your Name, followed by your comment.

If you have any trouble, please feel free to contact Rick at rbenjamin(at)

Featured post

In an effort to…. Fatima

In an effort to keep my sanity,
I strive to love myself.
I thank God every night for letting me feel,
even if its too much at times.
I pray to have strength…
and courage to accept my limitations.
I thank him for all the love I feel around me.
Humanity. Love.

“In an effort to…” Emiley

“In an effort to feel close to home
I now call my mom every night.
I make sure my sister is doing
O.K. and that my mom is
remembering to take her medication.
Hearing her voice and the
support I have from her makes
my time away from my
family so much easier.
Only five months until I’m home.”

Week 6/7? “In an Effort To…” Prompt- Isabelle

Here is my response to Rick’s in class prompt to write our own version in under 59 words.

In an effort to spark creativity,
I now carry a pen with me at all times
Ink to paper or skin allows for thoughts to flow
Art has never felt so spontaneous
With only 8 words remaining, I feel it is fitting to say-
Inspiration can come in the strangest of forms.
As long as you are welcome it.

Reaction to Emily

Hi Emily,

Although you haven’t published your thoughts about Keeping Quiet, is still want to give a reaction to your words.

I think you are exactly right. Young people are raised among too much choice; about important matters such as education, but also about what type of peanutbutter to buy or what picture to post on instagram. This in combination with the constant saying we must be lucky to have so many choices and we have to make them all, makes us stressed and depressed. We never quit or keep quiet. Both The Quiet World and Keeping Quiet are about the connection with nature, with each other and with ourselve that we have lost, we can only restore this by keeping quiet, just for a minute, just for an hour, just for a day

Week 5: Isabelle

AH! Due to my absence in class during Week 4, I had no idea that our community’s WordPress was up and running. Thankfully, I found Rick’s “Roll Call” e-mail and can now give some feeback on the readings.

Although I appreciate all the readings, by far my favorite its Bambara’s “The Lesson” as its themes of economic disparity and the choice to either rise above or submit to it can be seen in our own diverse community here at UCSB. One concept that we have touched upon in disucssion that is relevant to our campus culture is the idea that not every student at UCSB comes from the same background or has gone has faced the same adversities.

In “The Lesson”, we gain a little insight on what like to grow up in an economically disadvantaged community. After touring the FAO Schwartz Toy Store, many of the children left feeling cheated-out and upset about their situation. To cope with this, they begin to squabble over what to do with the change from the cab ride. These children’s behavior represents one option of coping with adveristy: submitting to it. Because the children see that their current quality of living is nowhere near the quality of those who could afford the expensive toys, they eventually settle with the few resources and money they do have and make do. On the other hand, Sylvia represents the other option in coping with adversity: using it as motivation. Instead of settling for less, Sylvia makes the promise to herself that “ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin”. This statement suggests that Sylvia refuses to be defined by the conditions in which she was born into and is going to work to rise above them so her boundaries will not be defined by her enviornment or those more advantaged/priviledged than her, but by herself and her will to make a difference.

The concept of going against the grain and rising above one’s surroundings to achieve greater things is witnessed in our own campus as many Gauchos have had to do the same to attend UCSB. Because we are not from the same backgrounds and experiences, it is important to celebrate diversity and provide opportunities those who are working hard for their education.

Week 5: Linh Le

Response to “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara

Hi, this is Linh. I realized that i’ve never considered the bigger picture of my position in society. I never put into perspective that there is a big divide in what people have. I knew that there was one through books but i never felt like i was in one until i read this reading. i would choose to ignore it and go about my day like Sylvia and would only attend to my temporary need. The quote that really struck me was when Sugar said, “I don’t think all us here put together eat in a year what that sailboat cost”. Until i read this quote, i’ve always have a tunnel mind of thinking about what i want and what i can afford, not how limited we are compared to other people. I believed that as long as i try my best to live a happy life everything would be okay. Unfortunately, there are many invisible weight pulling people down that we don’t think about regularly because we are use to it and neglect its importance. An example of an invisible weight i have is that i live in an uneducated working class family. What i noticed is that there was a teacher in this passage. It made me realize how much of and impact having a teacher at home is. (parents, siblings or any role model) I’m a first generation student with parents who has been always been in the working class economy. They are older than me by 40+ years and up until this past year i never had a proper conversation with them. They wouldn’t ask me “why do you think” and that caused me to believe things are just how they are. I also didn’t receive lessons from stories my parents told and they definitely did not read me books. (We couldn’t afford it and they weren’t able to read in english since they aren’t bilingual) This impacted the way i learn. I never realized how passive i was about the socioeconomic problem. Another example is just being a girl/women and told to be polite and quiet. Just by being taught to do this impacts females because society trains us to think that women cannot be leaders and doesn’t deserve as much respect.There are plenty of other invisible weight we carry but class is definitely a massive issue¬†because of the limited opportunities that restricts our ability as well as how we live and learn.

Week 5: Leah

I thought that “The Lesson” was powerful because it not only highlighted the known or unknown difference in the lives of the poor versus the rich, but it also showed the importance of a valuable education. Many of the comments the narrator made, especially about being bored by Miss Moore’s lessons, reminded me of our first few readings for the class, and how many youth programs aim to channel the children’s energy into something productive, rather than, as the narrator suggests, going to terrorize and steal from others. Miss Moore was trying to teach the kids to be passionate about their learning by encouraging them to not shy away from their questions or curiosity, hoping that it’ll lead them to think about and act on the vast inequality they face daily without realizing. The conversation at the end between the narrator, Miss Moore, and Sugar show how easy it is for people to become passive or fearful by discrimination, silenced by both the oppressors and by equally-oppressed peers who discourage straying from the “norm” that was created. Sugar spoke with courage when she decided to engage in Miss Moore’s lesson, at the risk of the narrator’s push back, which did finally silence Sugar again. However, it also got the narrator to ponder what she learned that day, and that spark of curiosity shows the importance of a patient educator.

Week 5: Nina

The Pablo Neruda story gave me chills because of how true it is. It is true that affection from someone who doesn’t know you seems to warm you in a way that can’t really be replicated. The other day I got some disappointing news from my family back in Los Angeles and on my way back bike riding through IV, my phone was glitching and bike was failing on me. I pulled over to the side of the street in tears and pretty much collapsed out of frustration. A random stranger biking by stopped and looked me in my eyes and asked if I was okay. And somehow, that made all the difference.

Week 4: Nina

Hello, Nina here. Sorry if this is all messy I’m not really sure if I’m using this correctly!
So we discussed Gwendolyn Brook’s poem and it really left me feeling unsettled but honestly I could clearly see the picture she was trying to create =, and in fact I have seen that picture before and as sad as it is to say, I have lived it too. The image of ignorant woman only doing charity for the simple fact that it makes them feel a little better about themselves, but without actually getting their hands dirty is a form of philanthropy very popular in America. One example of this would be like the “Charity Galas,” in which millions of dollars are spent so that guests could show up in gorgeous 1000$ cocktail dresses and talk about their last vacation at the Hamptons, all while feeling their own worth go up because they had the decency to donate a 200$ bottle of wine that would be auctioned off. It’s also complex because its hard to critique philanthropy, I mean isn’t it supposed to be a good thing? But the fact of the matter is, philanthropy in America is the equivalent of dusting a pair of raggedy, torn, ripped up shoes; it doesn’t really fucking do anything.

Blog at

Up ↑