Lee Wilson '18 continues his commitment to service

Lee Wilson '18 and Lucas Malo, director of community service.

Lee Wilson '18 and Lucas Malo, director of community service.

Lee Wilson '18 came to Brandeis knowing he wanted to get involved in community service, he just wasn't sure which program.

The Waltham Group at Brandeis offers dozens of options for students looking to make a difference through community service, and choosing one isn’t always easy.

When Wilson arrived on campus his first year he attended the Waltham Group Recruitment Night to find the right choice for him. That's where he learned about Prospect Hill Kids’ Club.

The kids' club partners with the community center at Prospect Hill Terrace, Waltham's largest low-income housing community, to provide the children a safe and stimulating place to go after school. Coordinators and volunteers serve as role models and mentors; they help kids with their homework and lead them in activities like sports, arts projects, baking and more.

"I thought it was the place that I could really bring the most to," Wilson said. “I had experience tutoring a similar age group in high school; I felt that I could make a difference," Wilson said.

At first, he was a volunteer in the program and worked one day per week in the program. It was the start of a long commitment from Wilson. He tutored two fifth-graders as part of his work and built a bond with them that lasted through his four years at Brandeis and their time in the program. He went from volunteering his first year to becoming a program coordinator and a Waltham Group co-president. In all, he recorded 726 hours of service in the Commitment to Service Award Program during his time at Brandeis.

"It was one of the reasons I came here, that community service and social justice are such a big part of the experience," Wilson said. "Not only do you have the Waltham Group, but you have tons of other community service opportunities. It's truly amazing. So many people decide to get involved and that's something that speaks to the values of the student body and how passionate students are about trying to make the world a better place."

The Commitment to Service Award Program encourages undergraduate students to sign up and log their service hours each semester while at Brandeis through an online service. Participating in and logging service hours in the program improves a student’s professional development and post-grad opportunities, allows Brandeis and community partners to apply for further funding and awards, and promotes lifelong active citizenship in Brandeis students.

The program also rewards graduating seniors like Wilson with a medal if they graduate with over 300 (bronze level), 600 (silver level), and 900 (gold level) service hours. All current undergraduate students are eligible to sign up in their SAGE account.

Wilson graduated with a double-major in international and global studies and economics, and he is now headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina this fall for a Fulbright program English Teaching Assistantship. It's an adventure that matches his community service work and his interest in international relations.

"It's the best of both worlds to get to continue some of the work I've been doing the last four years as well as some of my other interests," he said.

Will Brummett, program coordinator for the Department of Community Service, described Wilson as the epitome of the community service experience Brandeis strives for.

"He found the intersection between his passions and Waltham’s community needs, and fully invested himself in Prospect Hill and experienced growth alongside the organization for four years,” Brummett said. “His commitment to Waltham Group and the Commitment to Service Award program further enriched his development and has set him up for amazing post-graduate opportunities. We could not be more proud of the work Lee has done, and we hope many students will follow in his path by joining Waltham Group or signing up for the Commitment to Service Award program.”

Learn more about community service opportunities at Brandeis on the Department of Community Service website.

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