Manish Mandava ’14

Manish '14 with Matt LaLonde '14 in Washington D.C.

Manish ’14 (on the right) with Matt LaLonde ’14 in Washington D.C.

Year of Graduation: 2014

Major: Biology

Current Address: Baltimore, Maryland

How were you engaged with ARC? Not just the seminar/internship/fellowship but describe the type of project.

I was a volunteer at The Tool Library and at the IWU Peace Garden.
I was closely involved with planning the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip, specifically the Habitat for Humanity ASB trip. I also took the non-profit grant writing class taught by Deborah Halperin. During this class, I able to secure $1500 of grant money for the Homes of Hope organization in Normal, Illinois.

Where are you now?

I am currently in Baltimore, Maryland studying at Johns Hopkins University on route to get a master’s of science degree.

Where did ARC take you professionally? Are you doing work that connects back to ARC in some way?

ARC took me into the community in a manner that I never imagined. The previous statement is particularly relevant because I was a Bloomington/Normal native even before attending IWU. In other words, as a “towine”, I gained new approaches by which I could make a difference in my own town. Through ARC I found out about numerous non-profit organizations in the B/N community that make a lasting impact on the local community.

I will always be doing work that connects back to ARC simply because the mission of ” [a] relentless pursuit of innovative ideas that transform communities” is such a powerful directive that yields effective results for communities anywhere in the world. Even as a student, I am not isolated from the vibrant and urban community of Baltimore, Maryland. I currently work as a volunteer at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, specifically in the Shock Trauma department. I believe that my work connects back to ARC because as all ARC members quickly realize that going into the community itself and understanding the needs of a community are the first steps towards any transformative change. One of the struggles of Baltimore, Maryland (and many other urban centers) is the level of violent crime and other related traumatic injuries. I believe that as a volunteer at the Shock Trauma department at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland helps me address a specific need of my community. Essentially, the principles of ARC allow me to work towards improving the lives in my community.

Where did ARC take you personally? Are you engaged in community work that is ARC-like?

I felt that ARC gave me the confidence to work and belong to any community. My work at ARC allowed me to develop a sense of self-confidence to venture into different communities. In regards to if i’m “engaged in community work that is ARC-like”, see my above response.

Did ARC teach you what we were supposed to teach you? Did we teach you anything that was a surprise or outside of the learning objectives?

Through ARC I learned the importance of going into a community, evaluating the community’s needs, thinking about innovative ideas, and effectively implementing these ideas.

I was surprised by how quickly communities can respond to meaningful ideas. For example, the immediate responses to the IWU peace garden, The Tool Library, and the Farm to Food Pantry surprised me!

Share a great memory about ARC/IWU.

I will always have such a positive memory of helping out Matt LaLonde run The Tool Library. I was astounded by how his idea was came to existence though help from the IWU community, B/N community, student volunteers, and community volunteers. I felt that it was such a wonderful example of how a campus and a community can come together to make a difference. As a volunteer, who helped supervise the shop during many days in the summer, I was touched in knowing that I played a small role in moving what was once an idea into a important corner stone of the community.

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