Tag: student volunteers

Road Trip: Student volunteers visit Philadelphia for collaborative public health project

A seven-person team of multi-national Lawrence University students are accompanying government professor Claudena Skran to Philadelphia to work on a public health-related project the second week of February.

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Student volunteers in Lawrence’s KidsGive program will travel to Philadelphia to work with Healthy NewsWorks elementary school journalists in a video project. Among the participants in the project are Tierney Duffy, Alex Kurki, Professor Claudena Skran, Delina Abadi, Tamanna Akram and Wesley Varughese.

The students, members of KidsGive, a Lawrence-based scholarship program for children in Sierra Leone, will collaborate with Healthy NewsWorks, a health-focused student media program, to produce two educational videos on water and sanitation that will be shown at Conforti Primary School in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

KidsGive members are cooperating partners in a project that will build a new well and water system for the Calaba Town section of Freetown, an area on the outskirts of the capital city that is not currently served by piped water. When completed, the well will provide a water-tap system for the 500 children at Conforti Primary School and their families.

The video project will enable Healthy NewsWorks student reporters from two Philadelphia elementary schools to work with Lawrence KidsGive volunteers to engage in peer-to-peer public health education with students their own age in Sierra Leone. The videos will focus on health facts about water hygiene and hand washing. The Healthy NewsWorks students also will participate in face-to-face videoconference discussions about health with their counterparts in Sierra Leone.

Skran called the KidsGive engagement with Healthy NewsWorks “a very exciting collaboration.”

“We are pleased that we can contribute in its important mission to train young journalists and promote better health,” said Skran. “Working with student journalists will enable us to better reach children in Sierra Leone with important messages about sanitation and hygiene, which is especially important in the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”

Marian Uhlman, director of Healthy NewsWorks, said her student journalists are looking forward to working with the KidsGive volunteers.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to broaden their understanding of the world and to see how the health communication skills they’re learning can make a real difference in improving lives,” said Uhlman.

KidsGive volunteers participating in the video project will be senior Wesley Varughese, Lake Villa, Ill., project coordinator; junior Delina Abadi, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, elementary school coordinator; senior Tierney Duffy, Riverside, Ill., middle school coordinator; senior Joe Pegorsch, Waupaca, videographer; junior Andres Capous, San Jose, Costa Rica, Spanish language coordinator; junior Alex Kurki, Helena, Mont., financial manager; sophomore Tamanna Akram, Dhaka, Bangladesh, water project liaison.

While on the trip, the students also will meet with Lawrence alumni in Philadelphia and New York City.

Prior to the video project, Skran, the Edwin & Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science and Professor of Government, will present “Stories of Loss and Resilience” Tuesday, Feb. 9 at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The public lecture will examine the impact of the Ebola epidemic on the children of Sierra Leone. Skran will share first-hand accounts of children who lost homes, parents and months of schooling while enduring quarantines and hospitalizations during the epidemic and discuss international efforts to assist in the nation’s recovery.

“Working with student journalists will enable us to better reach children in Sierra Leone with important messages about sanitation and hygiene, which is especially important in the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”
    — Government professor Claudena Skran

Skran was the first U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Sierra Leone after its 1991–2002 civil war and has visited the country 17 times, including three times during the Ebola epidemic. She is currently writing a book, “Ebola Time,” on the children, schools and the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.

KidsGive, founded by Skran, is part of Lawrence’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. It strives to educate U.S. students about African life and cultures and to promote informed giving while providing children in Sierra Leone with learning opportunities. The student-run organization maintains active partnerships with schools in all four regions of Sierra Leone by providing scholarships and general school support and by sponsoring volunteer missions by American university students.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Community Service Lands Lawrence University on President’s National Honor Roll

For the eighth consecutive year, Lawrence University has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

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Helping build hoop houses at Riverview Gardens was among the student volunteer service hours that helped Lawrence earn its eighth straight spot on the President’s Higher Education National Community Service Honor Roll.

Lawrence is one of only two Wisconsin institutions to be cited every year by the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) since it launched the honor roll program in 2006 in response to the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Nine hundred Lawrence students contributed 17,777 hours to community volunteer and service-learning programs in collaboration with a wide variety of valued partnerships throughout the Fox Cities during this year’s reporting period, including 138 students who devoted 20 hours or more per term.

The President’s Honor Roll program recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities on a broad range of issues. Honorees are chosen on the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

“Community service provides ways to better understand ourselves,” said President Mark Burstein, “and involvement in the wider community enhances our learning environment. I am proud of the work and dedication our students display and pleased they have once again been nationally recognized for their efforts. At Lawrence, service continues to be not only altruism, but also part of the transformative educational experience that we strive to provide for our students.”

Among the initiatives for which Lawrence was cited:

• Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention Training. The training program benefited not only the campus, but the greater community. Lawrence collectively trained one master trainer, 51 instructors and 510 gatekeepers. Instructors and gatekeepers reported intervening within days of learning QPR skills to connect distressed community members to immediate crisis intervention services.

Self-Agency in Youth (SAY) Program. Using a two-pronged approach of support groups and a tutoring/mentoring initiative, the SAY Program helps teens gain ownership over their post-high school futures. Beautiful You African American Girls’ Group and Hmong Youth Pride and Empowerment (HYPE) are two branches of SAY and one of several collaborations between Lawrence and the Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley. With backgrounds and challenges similar to those faced by the teenagers, the Lawrence student volunteers turned their own experiences as a refugee or a first generation college student into a source of knowledge to help high school students in need of mentoring, reassurance and support.

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Student volunteers helped sort clothes at Appleton’s Bethesda Thrift Shop at Lawrence’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Nearly 500 students participated in activities under the theme of  “learn, serve and celebrate.” Activities included a “Read and Reflect: A Lunch Discussion” event on the book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting in the Cafeteria,” six student-led on-campus volunteer opportunities and the presentation of a specially developed curriculum on tolerance to more than 650 area youth at seven after-school sites of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley. Members of the Lawrence community ended the day by joining Fox Cities leaders to listen to Rev. Wanda Washington speak on “How to Build a Just World” at the annual MLK celebration hosted by Lawrence.

“It is a source of pride for everyone at Lawrence who values the college’s contributions to the vitality of the greater Appleton and global communities, that we have been recognized, once again, by the Corporation for National and Community Service for our achievements in community service,” said Mark Jenike, Pieper Family Professor of Servant Leadership and director of the college’s Office for Engaged Learning. “At Lawrence, community engagement, enabled by strong partnerships, is one of the most important ways in which we pursue our mission of preparing students for lives of achievement, responsible and meaningful citizenship, lifelong learning and personal fulfillment.”

The CNCS compiles the President’s Community Service Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence University Honoring Boys & Girls Club at 5th Annual Report to the Community

A Fox Cities partnership that has grown steadily stronger for 15 years will be honored Tuesday, Oct. 22 by Lawrence University during the college’s fifth annual Report to the Community.

Lawrence President Mark Burstein will present the annual Lawrence University Collaboration in Action Award to the Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Cities in ceremonies that begin at 8 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

Boys_Girls-Club_newsblog3Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory of music, will serve as the event’s emcee and Ron Dunlap, retired administrator for the Appleton Area School District and current CESA 6 state coordinator of CREATE Wisconsin, will share thoughts on the state of education in the Fox Valley as the program’s keynote speaker.

Lawrence’s Collaboration in Action Award recognizes an individual or organization, who, in partnership with Lawrence, has provided exemplary service to the Fox Cities community through strategic vision, leadership influence, long-standing commitment and enthusiasm, financial contributions and/or volunteerism.

“We want to thank the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley for their long and substantial collaboration which has provided Lawrence students with learning experiences and opportunities to serve the greater community,” said Burstein. “We are confident their volunteer activity has made a positive impact on their programs and those they serve.  We hope this service will be a basis for future collaborations.”

Since opening in 1998, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley has established itself as a leader and advocate for youth development throughout the Fox Cities. Lawrence, with its own mission of developing young people into responsible, engaged citizens, has long sought ways to complement and enhance the efforts of the Boys & Girls Club. The mutually beneficial relationship has enriched youth programming at the Club, while providing Lawrence students with valuable leadership and experiential learning opportunities.

Making Lives Richer, Brighter

During the 2012-13 academic year, 173 Lawrence volunteers, interns and students were involved in community-based learning activities at the Club.

“From the waves of students who came to inform and inspire on Martin Luther King Day this past year to the academic research conducted by students and professors on the impact of the Club on young lives, from powerful mentorship to young people in need through groups like Beautiful You African American Girls’ Group, to the many Lawrence students who have chosen to learn about human services and work at one of our Club locations, the contributions have been many,” said Greg Lemke-Rochon,  chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club. “They’ve surprised us by their generosity and creativity, and they’ve made the lives of those we serve richer and brighter.”

The Lawrence partnership with the Boys & Girls Club reached a new level four years ago with a concerted focus on increasing enrichment activities for K-12 youth. With support from the Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar AmeriCorps Program, Lawrence placed a student volunteer coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club, which helped increase the number of students engaged in a diverse range of programming. The Self Agency in Youth (SAY) initiative, launched in 2012, provides tutoring and mentoring through two support groups — Hmong Youth Pride and Empowerment (HYPE) and Beautiful You African American Girls Group — for the Clubs’ ethnically diverse teenagers.LU_Boys-and-Girls-Club_newsblog2

Approximately 20 Lawrence students volunteer each week with the SAY program, which offers minority teens a sanctuary for self-expression and open discussions of their futures without fear of being judged by their ethnicity or background.

Beautiful You African American Girls’ Group provides African American teen girls a supportive environment for discussing self-respect, self-confidence and race, while also learning about resume writing and college visits. HYPE offers Hmong youth a similar support network.

“Helping “Break the Cycle”

Jerry Overstreet, The CLUB Teen Center coordinator, called the Lawrence student volunteers “a tremendous addition to all of our current The CLUB Teen Center programs and mentoring relationships.

“Our relationship with Lawrence has provided low-income and at-risk youth with socialization skills, academic guidance and positive role models that we hope can help them ‘break the cycle,'” said Overstreet.

Previous winners of Lawrence’s Collaboration in Action Award include the Mielke Family Foundation (2010), YMCA of the Fox Cities (2011) and the  Appleton Area School District (2012).

Previous winners of Lawrence’s Collaboration in Action Award include the Mielke Family Foundation (2010), YMCA of the Fox Cities (2011) and the  Appleton Area School District (2012).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

MLK Day of Service Generated More than 500 Volunteer Hours

Lawrence University students, faculty, staff and local alumni did their part to turn the annual Martin Luther King holiday from a day off to a day of service.

Working with several local organizations, including the Appleton Boys and Girls Club and the Appleton school district, 169 Lawrence volunteers contributed 507 hours of service on Monday (1/16).

A total of 630 area students participated in a special age-appropriate curriculum focused on diversity and social justice issues that was developed by Marika Straw ’13.  The program, led by Lawrence volunteers, included a variety of hands-on activities to bring Dr. King’s message to area youth.

“The students chose to focus their efforts this year on supporting youth in the community and were very pleased to partner with all seven local after-school sites of the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley,” said Kristi Hill, LU director of volunteer and community service programs. “Lawrentians are very involved with both this organization and the Appleton Area School District and seem to be increasingly concerned by the lack of funding and overall support of educational initiatives. In response, our students worked with club staff to develop activities that would allow Lawrentians to support K-12 youth and give the hard working staff of the club a bit of a break.

Gabrielle Rakidzich '15 (left) and Emily Crowe '14 were among 169 LU volunteers who participated in Monday's Martin Luther King Day of Service activities. (Photo by Emma Moss '13.)

“I can say with absolutely certainty that Lawrentians gained just as much from this day as the youth,” Hill added.  “Students returned to campus with both humorous stories and some more serious stories of important discussions that occurred around the topic of fairness.”

In addition to school activities, a team of volunteers repainted an affordable housing unit owned by the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities while 16 students helped winterize the Heckrodt Nature Center.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.

Lawrence University Earns Fifth Straight National Community Service Citation

More than 9,700 service hours to volunteer and service-learning programs provided by 786 students earned Lawrence University inclusion on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fifth consecutive year.

Lawrence is one of only two Wisconsin institutions named to the Community Service Honor Roll every year since the program was launched in 2006 to recognize commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

Announced by the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a total of 641 colleges and universities were recognized for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. A total of 851 institutions applied for the Honor Roll, a nine percent increase over last year.

“The goal of a great university should be to graduate altruistic citizens, young adults with generous hearts to complement their developed minds,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck. “Service is celebrated as a vital part of Lawrence’s culture and it is gratifying to have the dedicated efforts of our students acknowledged nationally.”

Honorees are chosen on the basis of several factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Among the initiatives for which Lawrence was cited was the Academy of Music’s Young Band Project, a band instruction program that mentored 139 fifth-graders at Appleton’s Lincoln Elementary School; Professor of Biology Bart De Stasio’s research on invasive species in the Fox River involving six student volunteers; and the Lawrence ArtsBridge Program, which creates hands-on experiences in the arts through partnerships between Lawrence student and K-12 supervising host teachers. Last year 192 area students were mentored through Arts Bridge projects.

“With nearly 10,000 service hours, Lawrence student volunteers are clearly sharing their time and talents with a wide variety of organizations around the Fox Cities as well as overseas,” said Monica Rico, Lawrence’s Pieper Family Professor of Servant Leadership and director of the college’s Office for Engaged Learning. “The federal government changed the application significantly for this year’s honor roll, requesting additional data along with evidence of a demonstrated positive impact on the community. I am proud that we met these new standards by providing ample proof of the ways in which Lawrence makes a positive difference.”

According to the CNCS, a federal agency, 3.2 million students performed more than 307 million hours of service across the country last year, service valued at $6.4 billion.

The President’s Community Service Honor Roll is compiled by the CNCS in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.