Sangha Education Center is a non-profit organization on Long Island whose mission is to create “A Place of Wonder” where all those involved enjoy hands-on, project-based learning experiences together during mentoring and stewardship programs.
I am Jackson Beach and I am currently a participant in the Civic Mentoring program offered by Sangha Education Center in Jericho. Education and inspiration occurs through understanding the interconnection between the participants and the natural world and how we can pass on what we have learned through the generations. What is really interesting about the organization is that the director, Christine Keller, also served as one of my professors during my freshman year at SUNY Old Westbury.
Currently at SUNY Old Westbury, I have been part of the school’s Honors College program. Part of this program requires students to participate in an internship related to their major of choice. For me, I will be majoring in Management Information Systems which goes hand-in-hand with my business minor. My internship has been working with Catherine Latter, a mentor and volunteer at Sangha who has expertise in Native American culture. Native American culture is a strong inspiration for Sangha because one of Sangha’s main goals is to teach people about the natural world, just like Native American tribal elders did with their youth.
Over the last few months, Catherine has been amazing to work with while doing my internship slideshow project on how today’s businesses and management information systems have been strongly influenced by Native American culture and history. One of the things I love about myself is being able to make connections between things that appear to have seemingly no connection when not looked at strongly. I have made connections such as the fact that looking at history, we can find many Native Americans who were like business leaders. They were in charge of making decisions in a world filled with scarcity when there was no playbook, except learning from one another and their natural environment, on how to live. This included dealing with other tribes and hunting for food. But just as today, some people would act in their own interest during dealings with tribal leaders representing tribes. This was shown when the Shinnecock Tribe of Long Island’s sacred whales were being hunted by European settlers for their own selfish needs such as blubber for lamps after the settlers were taught by that tribe.
This internship project has proven to be very interesting. I have enjoyed it ever since I started working on it. I have been able to show my presentation to other participants at Sangha Education Center while in the process of making a new and improved slideshow for a larger audience on Long Island. I have realized through this project I am becoming a leader myself through teaching about Native American culture and how it has influenced our country in business, microeconomics, management information systems, and many other areas. We can learn much from the original traditions of indigenous cultures to inform our present.
Have you ever been in a situation where you took on a leadership role and were a source of wisdom and advice? How were people impacted by it and did you and those around you benefit? Did only one side benefit? If so explain how?