Melissa & Maeva are students at Saugus High School in Saugus, Massachusetts. They're active members of their school-based Multiplying Good Students In Action team! We asked them a few questions to learn more about how their service work and racial identity intersect! Check out the Q&A below. 

(Saugus HS SIA team members: Maeva a sophomore who's in her 2nd year of SIA & Melissa, a senior who's in her 4th year of SIA)

1. Why is it essential for the community of people activating service to others to be a diverse group of people?

We feel that having a diverse community group is essential because each person will bring their own perspectives, values, and opinions to the table. Their inputs will better help us in serving different types of communities because they might better understand the needs of a specific group in a certain community.

2. As a black person in America, has the COVID-19 pandemic and the violence against Black Americans affected your ability, willingness, or desire to serve? In what ways?

The violence against Black Americans in the US has only strengthened our willingness to serve. It became so much more important to emphasize the importance of awareness in our town and other areas. People’s stories need to be heard/understood and our club is completely willing to be a stepping stool in that progress.

Like many other SIA programs, COVID-19 has impacted our ability to serve because we had a lot of plans that we couldn’t go through with for safety purposes. Nonetheless, we were able to come up with new ideas that could help the community.

3. Tell us about your service work

Our group is all about respecting differences in diversity within our community. It’s mainly focused on comforting the minority groups in our community that may not feel represented at our school and educating the school about important topics regarding racial identities. Over the years, Peer Mediation has done many service projects like our Prejudice, bias, and privilege workshop/course with a group of 15 8th graders in 2019 and with 55 teachers from the Saugus Public Schools district. We also did a ‘privilege walk’ with the entire 8th-grade student body. The walk included workshops where we discussed several scenarios about true events that had happened to each of our members. Before schools closed, we bought over 30 children’s books for one of our current projects that were put on hold due to the Pandemic. Our club is creating a video to celebrate Black History Month and educate the Saugus High School community about all the wonderful figures that are rarely mentioned.

4. How is your school working to increase the presence of Black students who participate in Students In Action?

Something the school is working on with us is getting more involvement from Black students that may not feel comfortable at the school. We’re working on a website to recruit new students and that will act as an emotional outlet to various students of color.

5. In your opinion, what is the biggest/most significant impact service to others can have on Black communities? Why?

Service to others could spread a better understanding of situations in the black community. Many issues are misinterpreted and not fully explained, so having service projects that are willing to be a source for information and knowledge about injustices is extremely important. 

Our blog series, Exploring the role of service in the Black Community, is an interview series with participants from our Students In Action, Media Partner, and Recognition Champions programs. For the next three weeks, we're giving the Multiplying Good community an intimate look into how their unique experiences and racial identity impacts their service work.  

The blog series will culminate with a Facebook Live conversation among all the participants. It will be held on Thursday, February 25, and moderated by Mr. Taj Tashombe, Vice President of Government Affairs, Oakland Athletics/Multiplying Good Bay Area Board Member. Like our Facebook Page for more information!