Immersion by definition is complete involvement: involvement in something that completely occupies all the time, energy, or concentration available. Thus, an NSTP student should define Community Immersion as an approach of developing among them the concept of empowerment and service as they reach out to the deprived, depressed and unprivileged communities and marginalized segments of society.
In Chapter 1, Community Immersion as a part of learning is essential for it helps students to distinguish a community problem that needs to be solved. It also exposes students to the DDU (Deprived, Depressed & Unprivileged) units of society that needs and help in many aspects.
Also, experiences in community immersion will allow them to take part with other people who may assist them to under-go certain changes that will make them to be aware and responsible citizens. It also develops the student’s habit of doing community works enabling them to be more socially attached and to appreciate more the variation of cultures in every community. It also imbue in them a sense of responsibility knowing real – life situations.
Community Immersion as a whole helps students in personal growth and self – transformation. It also ripens their maturity and perspective towards community involvement. It also helps in improving their values and to know different beliefs from other people.1
Psychologists say that “A person should learn from others through experiences and circumstances”. This implies that a person should learn from others in order to develop one’s morals, principles and ethics. Translating further that context, learning from others is a way of appreciating the human existence and bringing out the best service in community works and involvement.
Community Immersion as a whole does not take poverty as a general problem of the community but it narrows down to education, health, safety and disaster management, sports and recreation, environmental services, entrepreneurship and livelihood and morals of citizenry and other social/general welfare concerns. It empowers not only the youth itself but it also clings to unity as a community. Thus, it infuses to the youth with good citizenship of being; MAKADIYOS, MAKATAO, MAKABAYAN at MAKAKALIKASAN.
Summary of Unit II
Understanding the Concepts and Principles of Community Immersion
Community as its general definition is the web of relationships and interactions among human beings. Understanding of how these societies works or ought to work has been sought in philosophy, economics, psychology, and religion. Community is categorized as geographical or functional. Geographical community is defined as a sanctuary of people living in the same geographical location. Hence, Functional Community is a group of people who may not live in the same location but has common goals, interests or is fighting for the same cause.
Like any other group, a community also has elements. First is element is Demographics, this includes the population, distribution and density. Second is History which will enable a person to know about events from the past that will contribute to the development of the community. Third, Culture is the most important element of a community. It tells about the people’s way of living and why they live that way. Fourth is Economy. This includes the income level and occupation of people. Lastly, Structures –which refers to the physical, political and social structures. Identifying and knowing all of these will help the NSTP students and what to expect during immersion.
Immersion is an important approach in giving service to the communities because through this, NSTP students/trainees will be exposed to realities of life that they or may not belong to. Immersion is a way of feeling others’ needs. Young people are vested with the obligation “to defend the security of the State and in fulfillment thereof, the government may require each citizen to render personal military or civil service,” (Section 2, NSTP Act of 2001) whether in times of peace or war. It is clearly stated that the YOUTH as the hope of the Fatherland is emphasized to help build a community worthy for all.
Community Immersion in NSTP is devised as a strategy in molding and ‘conscientisizing’ students just so that they may be socially aware and responsible to their communities. Moreover, it is a strategy that goes beyond acquainting us with community concerns but make possible our participation in their resolutions. In addition, there are many forms of integration in community immersion. A group may do home visits, living with selected families which preferably must have key informants, informal discussions with individuals or groups, sharing in household and community activities, attendance in social gathering and assistance in production work.
However, community immersion has its objectives. Community – based service projects must be premised on the principle of people empowerment and not the ‘dole-out’ mentality. Thus, this teaches people HOW to fish so that they may live for a lifetime.
In order to qualify for Community Immersion, one must be enrolled in NSTP-CWTS/LTS 2 and is mandated to undergo immersion for a period covering a minimum of 54 hours to a maximum of 90 hours as cited from CHED-prescribed Program of Instruction (POI), 2007 edition.
Immersion on the other hand does not only comply the student’s academic requirement but they are expected to gain insights from community immersion. It is an opportunity for the trainees to comprehend people’s lives because of the chance given to them to see real life situations. It gains social acceptance derived from community relations and enhances experiences. Immersion also establishes rapport and relationship with different people who may help them at some time in the future. Also, it will develop conscience among the trainees, help solve problems in the community and will train them to at least help lessen the situation. Most importantly, it will help trainees to acquire first-hand experiences in dealing with community works and a chance to learn life – skills that will enrich and better their values.
In addition, doing community immersion also has it’s Do’s and Don’ts before, during and after the activity. This is important to know to help the trainees to successfully do their resolution.
There are important things to remember BEFORE doing an immersion. First, familiarize yourself with the basic information and theories regarding community life. Second, always secure a waiver from the NSTP Office and always inform the faculty-in-charge of the destination. Third, be armed with background information about the area of immersion. Most of all pay courtesy call to community leaders, whether formal or informal. Also, secure documents like a letter of acceptance from the community and bring your own personal provisions like, water, snacks and extra everything.
DURING an immersion, trainees are expected to be courteous to everyone, to act properly and discreetly, wear their proper uniforms and identification card, keep their valuables secured, document the visit and ALWAYS ask permission from concerned people when there is a need to take pictures.
There are still important things to do AFTER an immersion. Foremost, validate and evaluate if the programs and activities were conducted appropriately as planned. In addition, make sure to provide copies of the final documentation output to the UNSTP Office and to the community where the immersion was conducted for records purposes.
These are but few of the reminders a trainee has to ponder before, during and after community immersion. It does not merely involve kindness to the locality but it also requires discipline to each student undertaking the activity. Hence, there is no such thing called perfection in this world. There will always be flaws behold of the extensive planning made. Remember to enjoy the time with the community people. Treat them as close friends or as family.
All in all, voluntariness has its worth by doing it with Love. As Mother Teresa once said, “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action; and that action is service”