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Bonner Leader takes the lead

August 26, 2010

My name is Mallory Carstens and I am a junior majoring in social work at Augsburg College.

Mallory Carstens

I have also been involved in the Bonner Leaders Program for two years. Near the end of my sophomore year I decided I wanted a summer job that would be meaningful and allow me to really feel connected to my previous work in the community. With the Bonner program director I created a summer opportunity to work at the Baker Center in the West Side neighborhood of St. Paul.

My efforts this summer have been focused on transforming Baker Center into a growing, vibrant community center. To begin, I took on a role in everything that was already happening at Baker including All Around the Neighborhood summer camp, Jane Addams School for Democracy, and the Youth Apprenticeship Project. From there, my responsibilities grew and developed into starting new initiatives.

I joined the Baker Advisory Council and used ideas from the meetings to make things happen. I helped start a preschool time for toddlers and families, a free clothing exchange for mothers and children, and computer classes for Spanish speakers. I also worked with neighborhood residents to keep the swimming pool at Cherokee Heights Elementary School–next door to Baker Center–open to students and the community.

My work at Baker this summer has taught me how to listen to the needs of the community. Being involved with children, parents, community members, and neighborhood organizations has helped me develop a sense of why my work matters. I have come to realize how important a resource like the Baker Center is to the West Side.  I have strengthened my organizational and communication skills working with children and families, and have even gotten the chance to practice my Spanish! As I continue into my third year as a Bonner Leader and social work student, I hope to carry with me the importance of community.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 3:11 pm

    Great work Mallory! Would you mind if we shared this on the Inside Augsburg page? You can email me at I work in the Marketing and Communication department. Thanks!

  2. Abbey permalink
    August 26, 2010 7:59 pm


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