During Black History Month, we met with members of the Neighborhood Academy Students in Action (SIA) team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to understand their experiences in Multiplying Good. Below is their story which has been edited for clarity.

Multiplying Good (MG): How has being part of Students In Action (SIA) and Multiplying Good helped you understand the connections between community service, volunteering?

“It's been impactful and resourceful. Personally, I've learned a lot about community service and being a student leader in helping my community, both neighborhood-wise and school-wise. A lot of times you don't see a lot of black faces, but this year, there definitely were more, like four to five other teams that were more like us in our conferences.”

MG: Can you tell us about a meaningful experience you've had with SIA that made you see the importance of volunteer work?

“Our first event was the Community Slam, which is now an annual event we have every year. So now we do monthly events and just small things like helping the community. Just seeing the smiles on their faces, talking to them, just hearing how much our event impacted them, but also hearing that they learned something new, learn more about what's really going on in their community," expressed one student, reflecting on the impact of their Community Slam event.

“The Community Slam is an event that we started that focuses on teen mental health, teen youth homelessness, and teen gun violence. Getting people to come was a little tricky and hard– searching for speakers and tabling. It's nice to see that there's people of color, especially black students, who, you know, want to partake in assisting their communities and helping them out."

“We learned how to communicate better with each other, how to stick together even when things got hard, just to keep going and just see positivity out of it. It's nice to see that there's people of color, especially black students, who, you know, want to partake in assisting their communities and helping them out."

“The results for everything we do are always amazing. We can always know that what we've done has either helped a group of people are students, families, and stuff like that," shared one student, emphasizing the gratification derived from making a tangible difference in the lives of others. This being our second year, we wanted to do things a little bit bigger and better.”

MG: What advice would you give to others who want to get involved in community service during Black History Month?

"Just go with what you know, if you don't know anything, do some research, ask some questions, figure out what you want to do, and just start doing it. I hope that I'm still a student leader, not just while I'm here, but maybe when I get to college, bringing a path of community service to wherever I am.

"When I see the look on other people's faces when I'm helping them, or when I can give them something that they don't have, it makes me feel good inside. Just using our voice to say and get what we want and standing on that and just advocating not only for ourselves but for our group and our community."

Thank you to the students at the Neighborhood Academy, Courtney Stein, Jodi Klebick, John McClelland, Shannon Lynch and the Will Allen Foundation for your remarkable commitment to community and Multiplying Good.