Oftentimes, when students choose to major in Human Development and Community Engagement, they know that they want to help others. The College of Education and Human Development provides HDCE students with the skills necessary to leave their communities better than they found them.
Originally starting his student career in 2011, senior Kyle Macklin first pursued a degree in film, but left school as he struggled with substance abuse. Later, during his recovery, he heard about the William Way LGBT Center through their 12-step programs. The William Way LGBT Center is a hub for Philadelphia's LGBTQ+ community, with a mission to utilize the arts to educate, empower, and connect the community at-large. After engaging with some of their programs, he was inspired to begin a career that impacts other people within the LGBTQ+ community so he can help other people in his position.
The COVID-19 pandemic led Macklin to ponder on how he could begin a career of helping others and gave him the time he needed to pursue education. "As I returned to school, I knew that I wanted to work towards a career in advocacy for LGBTQ+ communities. And as a queer person myself, this is obviously something that I care deeply about," shared Macklin.
Macklin took what he learned and applied it to his internship as social engagement coordinator for the Elder Initiative. Particularly, the coursework for his concentration in non-profit management and social entrepreneurship, where he learned about the importance of advocacy and the structure of non-profits, as well as how to use that structure to create sustainable changes and spaces that are welcoming and inclusive to everyone.
He credits a specific course with preparing him to get involved at William Way. "I had such a good experience in the Adult and Workforce Development class taught by Meghan Raisch, that I was looking for positions in workforce development in non-profit organizations." The course is designed to help students understand aging as a dynamic process that is complex and allows adults to choose a wide variety of life paths. The course also covers adult development topics.
As social engagement coordinator, Macklin is making a difference in people's life through influencing and facilitating programming within the organization. He says that the courses taken at the CEHD built his confidence by building his professional vocabulary and rapport. These skills are necessary in being an effective advocate for the people you impact.
"Through my program, either directly or indirectly, I have greatly built my comfort level with supporting others out in the community," Macklin remarked.
The coursework also inspired him to seek out diverse viewpoints and experiences. This is especially important for his position at the William Way Center. In this position, he helps facilitate a weekly LGBTQ+ elder men's meeting called MorningsOut, as well as other groups and programs offered by the center.
Macklin says one of the most memorable activities he coordinated while working at the center happened with The Clay Studio, a Philadelphia arts organization, and his group. In the activity, the group sculpted and painted plates together. "It was both very fun and very therapeutic to be a part of this with them," said Macklin.
Now, he is focused on creating an intergenerational six-week residency program with the Clay Studio for the spring. The program would serve to connect older and younger generations and give them a fun, educational experience. The foundation laid by the faculty at CEHD allowed Macklin to showcase his talents and create programs like this within his community.
Beyond his studies at Temple and his internship, Macklin is regularly involved in community initiatives around the city and volunteers at other organizations. "Maybe it's corny, but the community-building stuff makes me sappy," Macklin joked.
Through his own tenacity and the education he receives at Temple, Macklin continues serving his community. After graduation, Macklin plans to continue his role as social engagement coordinator for the Elder Initiative as a full-time staff member. Find more inspiring stories like Kyle's on our website.