Martina Ellis

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Lincoln University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

During Martina Ellis’ first month in Malavli, India she did a lot of volunteer work at an orphanage called Shikshangren Orphanage and Creed’s Modern English school. It was there that she exercised her counseling and relational abilities with children. She participated in activities that helped to build the self-esteem of the orphans, while enriching their character. Another aspect of Martina’s volunteer work was her lessons on English. Many of the kids lacked skills in various aspects of grammar and speech, so she decided to teach them. She went on meditation walks with the children so that they could learn to embrace the beauty around them. Many of the children, at first, were skeptical of Martina, because they had never seen an African American before; however, once the children got to know how caring and sincere she was, they accepted her with open arms. One of the primary tasks that Martina had to fulfill was her obligation to the fundraiser play at the orphanage.  She helped the kids tell their stories through the play and encouraged them to rehearse. Once the play had been completed, the children were happier than she had ever seen them. They were interviewed by journalist and, ultimately, placed in the newspaper. This aspect of Martina’s experience was most rewarding, because many of the kids were once homeless, abused, and abandoned, and this play proved that they could do anything.  Martina was happy to be a part of that.  

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

Our CEE was a combination of a workshop and forum. As women walked in to take their seats we played Video Girl by India Arie and showed a slide show of women from various backgrounds. We then presented the women with some facts about media’s image of women and showed two clips from Miss Representation. We discussed issues surrounding the media’s perception of a standard of beauty. Then Ms. Powell, the keynote speaker, engaged us with a couple of self-esteem builders and gave a powerful eye opening speech on beauty and authenticity. The diverse six panelists and I answered questions about beauty on a local and global scale. The panelists and I got the conversation going, then we opened the floor for the audience to voice their opinions. The panelists and the audiences’ interaction was very intimate. After the women on Lincoln’s campus redefined what beauty was, we enjoyed some healthy refreshments. Refreshments included, lemonade, iced tea, fruits and a cheese dish. As we enjoyed our refreshments, my CEE partner and I took polaroid photos, which will be used to create a scrapbook which will be titled, “ Lincoln's Atlas of Beauty.”