During my time at Brandeis, I have learned to have a deeper appreciation for the values of community and lifelong learning. The university believes that “[e]very individual has a vested interest in the well-being of the community, and, therefore, an obligation to stay informed, to make positive contributions, and to offer assistance to those who need our help.” With Answer the Call, I have been able to do just that: be part of a community, a family. The families I work with all have a bond that could never be broken, being that they want to honor their loved ones who sacrificed their lives for others.
I’ll never forget my first tour of Brandeis. The sense of community and camaraderie on campus was very high on that fall Sunday afternoon. Then, a year later, arriving on campus, I was able to experience the friendships and bonds built amongst friends and professors. Just like in the first responder community, these bonds can never be broken.
Lifelong learning has various components to it. Whether you are learning in or out of the classroom, enriching your mind with education and new experiences can increase your intelligence. In regards to lifelong learning, Brandeis believes that “[e]ach of us is both teacher and student; we regard each moment as an opportunity to share a learning experience with others, and we accept challenges for the advancement of the community as a whole.”
Both of these components are significant because they help broaden my understanding in terms of how to assist with families who have lost their loved ones in a Line of Duty Death, as well as how to honor their legacies. Families that lose their loved ones will need a lot of support, whether that be financial or social support. Being able to witness this with Answer the Call has been such a wonderful opportunity, and I have recently extended my internship to early August, instead of ending next Monday! The organization itself creates a bond between the six hundred families it serves, as well as those that are current first responders and want to raise awareness about the organization. We also see actors such as Pete Davidson promoting the organization by frequently discussing it in various interviews.
With this internship being virtual, I have been able to connect with colleagues and families via Zoom and other telecommunication methods. Answer the Call has been nothing but helpful in terms of working with my schedule, as well as adapting to the virtual workspace. With this, projects and assignments that were supposed to be in person transitioned to a virtual work space.
Just like at Brandeis, the events created by Answer the Call staff provide families with the opportunity to have some fun, while also connecting with other families who have been through similar experiences. The bonds of these families can never be broken, and I am proud to be part of establishing these connections with the families of those who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty.