Belmont Community Center forges experience, connections for Fleming
08 Feb 2024 By Matthew Strasburger, University Communication and Marketing
When seeking ways to get involved and make an impact on the community, sometimes looking backward is the best way to move forward.
As an aspiring teacher, joining the staff at the Belmont Community Center was a great way for Azcia Fleming, a senior secondary education major from Lincoln, to gain some practical experience working with kids while also reconnecting with an organization that made an impact on her past.
“I just feel like they welcomed me right in,” Fleming said. “My job was to engage with the kids and teach them morality, life skills and how to treat other people. With teaching you obviously have a curriculum, but there’s no real curriculum for teaching life — and that’s what I loved about it.”
As a fourth-grader, Fleming picked up a few critical life skills of her own through the Belmont Community Center. Pete Ferguson, a community leader, helped get Fleming involved in the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Rally, which was organized out of the center. Recognizing her talents for engaging others, Ferguson asked Fleming to serve as keynote speaker for the rally that year in the state capitol.
“I remember standing there as a fourth-grader in front of like 500 people in the Warner Chamber of the capitol and really feeling that everyone was listening to me,” she said. “Pete really gave me a platform to express myself and speak out for what I believe in.”
A natural speaker, this pivotal experience helped Fleming find her path as a future teacher.
Arriving at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to study secondary education, Fleming knew the relationships that she held onto at the Belmont Community Center would be a great place to start looking for job experience. Building and maintaining relationships, she’s found, is also key to being a successful teacher.
“People say it again and again, but the connections you have with students will help foster the kind of classroom community you have,” she said. “Working at the BCC has really helped me learn how to connect with students and show up for them every day. I’ve had people in my life who’ve done that for me and now I want to continue carrying that torch for others.”
College of Education and Human Sciences
Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education