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Kaci Sutton Journal 1

Before I went to my Community Service Learning (CSL) site I was extremely nervous. I volunteered there second semester sophomore year. I didn’t go back my junior year because of my busy schedule and I had to make sacrifices so volunteering at my site went out the window. I felt extremely guilty. I never wanted to show my face there. I was afraid if I ever went back the kids would not want to see me. I did go back. The children at Heritage Park welcomed me back with open arms. As I’ve mentioned in class, Heritage Park is similar to Bragg Hill. Heritage Park is an apartment complex for extremely low-income families (below the poverty line). When I walked into what the children refer to as “Homework Club” I noticed a few familiar faces. Only a couple of them remembered me; only when I took my glasses off they knew who I was. They also remembered me because of how my hair was. I typically wear my hair in a high bun so they remembered me as the girl with the bun. It is interesting the children associated my identity with how I dressed and what I wore. A girl asked me why I never wear my hair down. I told her I didn’t like to. She gave me a strange look and said, “All girls like to wear their hair down. You’re weird!” I was criticized for not meeting a stereotypical gender expectation mandated by society. Later, upon reflection I started thinking about how deeply stereotypes function in my daily life. In Chapter 3, Crawford defines as “theories that people carry around in their heads about how members of a particular group think, look, behave, and how these attributes are linked” (Crawford, 75). So in other words stereotypes are perceptions because have in their head about how a person is supposed to look, act, talk, etc. I had failed them, I thought. Many children are too young to understand what stereotypes are so I know it was pure innocence, but that didn’t change how it made me feel. I looked around the room and looked at all of the young girls and noticed how they were dressed. They all have “girly colors” on like pink or purple or other light “feminine colors” then I looked at myself with black gym pants on and a t-shirt. I look nothing like these girls then I realized most days when I am with many of my college girlfriends I don’t dress like them either. I didn’t really notice though until the children at Heritage Park had questioned my appearance. It was my first day back and I already felt out of my comfort zone.

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