Compiled by Work-Study/CBL Student Leader Molly McKitrick

Looking for post-grad service opportunities can be an overwhelming and daunting task, especially if you don’t know where to start looking! Here are some popular service programs with diverse opportunities to help you get started on your search! (more…)

This entry is written by Professors Dana David-Walsh & Heather Perry, two faculty participants from last year’s Summer Institute.

We attended the CBL Summer Institute last summer in hopes that we would reinvigorate our Learning Community (LC).  The LC, Through the Looking Glass, has run each semester for the past 6 years. The course requires students to deeply explore various social policies through research and debate, and we felt that the students could not fully learn about social policy without direct experience with the populations the policies impact.

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by Dr. Corey Dolgon

I am very excited tonight as I wind down the midnight hour with a little Wilson Pickett in the background. Spring break is over, mid-terms are coming in, and we are getting ready for the sprint towards semester’s end. (more…)

Over the past year, OCBL has been providing Diversity Trainings for CBL courses based on an exercise from Intercultural Affairs. We would love your feedback about your experience in the activity. Please comment and tell us what you thought of the exercise and what you gained from it.

We look forward to hearing about your experiences!

 

Community-Based Learning…Internationally!

I’ll introduce myself since I’m new to the CBL blog. My name is Tracy Denholm and I’m a sophomore from Akron, Ohio. I’m an International Studies and Political Science double major and I’m a HOPE student leader, I’m on the rugby team, I am a co-founder of African Service Project, I’m a member of the Mindful Living Community, and I’m the winner of “Best Formal Wear” at the Mr. Stonehill competition (Hello ladies, how are you? Fantastic). I came to college because I love learning and my goal in life is to save the world and you’ve got to start somewhere! Corey and Kate were also kind enough to hire me to work here, so thank you both dearly (shoutout to Pat and Stacy too).

I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunities to travel to Ghana and Nicaragua in the past two years and have incredible experiences involving different communities in each location. These journeys have had a profound effect on my life and have called me to become involved with an organization called Friends of Students for 60,000 in order to aid in the construction of a unique domestic and international community. Currently, there exists a community in Nicaragua called Chacraseca that has began to pull itself from poverty through charitably funded projects such as home construction for homeless families (one of which I helped build myself), a clean water project that was completed in 2009, a professional style baseball field (their national sport), and a library and community center just to name a few.

The goal of this organization is to help the people in Chacraseca help themselves so they will no longer need outside aid; this being the ultimate goal of any development project. However, Friends of Students for 60,000 takes a more unique approach to development by expanding this sort of project into a village near Cuzco, Peru (I’ll be heading there this summer), Moree, Ghana (I’m working on this one heavily as we speak), and there are whispers about potentially Haiti. The eventual and crucial goal of the organization is not only to help all of these communities out of their current impoverished situations, but to empower them to help each other at an international level. The plan is to gain funding to send community leaders from each site to visit one another in person to brainstorm, network, and physically aid one another in breaking the cycle of poverty; thus a sort of horizontal development.

This horizontal development goal fosters not only a domestic community where empowered communities can branch out to aid their own neighbors, but also, a globalized community. This globalized community seeks to create understanding and communication between impoverished communities around the world who previously would have had little to no access to one another. Think about it, how many Americans who are privileged enough to travel actually have experienced the sort of poverty in 3rd world nations; while they more than likely exist, the majority of us haven’t. By having members of these 3rd world communities travel to aid one another, the project creates a community based learning environment that is rarely seen at any level. So, if you’re interested in being involved, let us know!

Tracy Denholm ’13
International Studies/Political Science
CBL Work Study Student
jdenholm@students.stonehill.edu

I had always volunteered during high school and that was something I knew I wanted to continue when I arrived at college.  Stonehill seemed like a place where altruistic students devote a lot of their time to help out with the surrounding community.  During fall orientation, Stonehill dedicates one day to program known as Into the Streets Day. The first year students go perform community service with their Orientation Group. Into the Streets Day was my first experience where Stonehill showed its attachment to the local community. The college makes a point to expose us to volunteer opportunities early on and transported students to a variety of sites.  On my ITS Day we went to a organization known as Career Works in Brockton that educates people on various job opportunities in the area and prepares them with skills that will help them upon entrance into the workforce.  They informed us of their mission and we got to tour the office to see the inner workings of the NGO.   It was a great opportunity to see the how this Non-Profit functions.

A few weeks in to school, I had seen a Listserv asking for student interest in the Big Brother/ Big Sister Teen program.  I had never worked with this age range before so I was a little hesitant at first, but decided it would be a good experience regardless.  Most of the program was just familiarizing us with the teen males.    Another student and I would go weekly to The Boys & Girls Club Teen Center to play different games with the young men. They were all unique and talented individuals that really warmed up to us after a few visits. Despite having family in the area, I was not particularly acquainted with the city of Brockton. I think, generally speaking, there is a sense of disconnect between Stonehill students and the city. There are some negative associations surrounding the area and they are often dispelled once students spend time exploring. I never felt unsafe on my weekly trips to the Teen Center and I think that most people assume that traveling into the area puts them in a vulnerable situation. The more involved students become, the quicker these assumptions will be dispelled. I enjoyed my time in Brockton and the toughest challenge we faced was the inconsistency with the adolescents participating in the program (through no fault of their own). Since they were living in temporary housing, we did not get to bond with them quite as much as I would have hoped. Overall, I am very glad I participated in the program.

I am also quite involved in the community here at Stonehill. I am somewhat of an “unofficial member” of the Mindful Living community and I participate in several clubs around campus. I have been involved in a few of the Campus Clean-Up days, which have been quite successful and Facilities has been a good resource for our endeavors. Overall, my experience over this last semester has been full of options for volunteering. I feel like it was a natural progression for me to end up in the office of CBL. After exploring some of the opportunities in the area, I feel like I am ready to start some of the community-organizing efforts. I am unfamiliar with this aspect of service work, but I look forward to seeing exactly how to coordinate different programs.

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Gregory Szczesuil is a freshman work study student looking to declare an Interdisciplinary major that will be focused on Sociology and Political Science. In addition to working in the CBL office, he works at the MacPhaidin library at the Circulation Desk.

Celebrating the Media Literacy Partnership: Our Capstone Event

 

As our Mediated Comm. Theory “capstone” class (CO419) came to a close, our semester-long CBL project with the kids at Davis Commons was also in its final stage.  We had taken exams and written papers during the semester, but for our final assignment, our job was a presentation of sorts, but not the kind where students stand up in front of the class and try not to read exactly what’s on their power point slides.  Instead, we were responsible for coordinating an on-campus capstone event so that we could present Stonehill College and college life in general to the Davis Commons kids, in part as a way to celebrate our CBL partnership with them, but also in hopes of instilling in them the very real possibility and the aspiration to one day go to college themselves.

 

In the weeks leading up to the event, we each had our own responsibilities to complete.  Some CO419 students were in charge of standard event-planning logistics, such as creating invitations, setting up the room, securing donated items for the kids’ “goody bags,” buying food, arranging photography, etc… Other students worked on planning a campus tour that would kick off our event for the Davis Commons youth.  Finally, some students worked on editing our class CBL video so that it could be screened at the event.  Needless to say, there were plenty of tasks to complete before an event such as ours could take place.

 

When the big day arrived in mid-December, we started off the event by meeting the Davis Commons kids at their bus and taking them on a campus tour lead by some of the students in the class.  They were shown many parts of campus, including where the basketball teams play and where one of our students lives.  We were lucky enough to talk to a few of the Women’s Basketball players as they were having a pre-practice shoot, which the kids seemed very excited about.  A bit later, we headed to a student’s dorm room in the Senior Courts.  The whole walk over the kids had a slew of questions for all the CO419 students that were leading the tour.  This helped them get an even more personal relationship with us as some of the questions were about our time at Stonehill.  They were very excited to see the living quarters of a college student (in all its glory) as the kids talked about who they would be roommates with when they got to college, furthering the idea that the tour makes their desire to go to college even more real.

 

The tour finished at the boardroom of Alumni Hall, where the second stage of the event was to take place.  Here, the kids were served pizza and beverages, and later cookies and cake.  In the time before and during the meal, the Davis Commons kids were encouraged to interact with us, and reflect on their semester spent learning about media literacy.  After the meal, we screened the video we made with footage throughout our semester at Davis Commons, including interviews with the kids and interactions between the Stonehill and Davis Commons students.  The video was a great way to cap off the semester spent with each other as it encapsulated our weekly visits to Davis Commons and showed the progress made in teaching them about media literacy.  After the video, which of course ended with a blooper real and subsequent laughter, we gave the kids gift bags full of various Stonehill paraphernalia, including t-shirts, pens, and foam fingers which they very much appreciated.  We talked some more with the students about the video and their overall experience, then said our goodbyes.

 

The event, which consisted of the campus tour, dinner and a film screening, was a perfect way to wrap up our Mediated Communication Theory class and our Community Based Learning experience with the kids from Davis Commons.  After spending the entire semester at Davis Commons and getting to know the youth in their after-school program environment, it was great to have them gain a sense of what our life is like at Stonehill.  In addition, screening our class video as part of the event gave our class a sense of fulfillment as we worked very hard all semester to capture our teaching experiences and interactions with the Davis Commons kids on video to create a  “How to teach Media Literacy” video.  It was especially great to see the progress in the kids’ understanding and grasp of media literacy, since that was, after all, the main goal of our CBL work.  The video also reminded the Davis Commons kids of all that they learned through our CBL partnership, and coupled with the tour we hope that they were able to gain an overarching sense of fulfillment for the work they had done so far, as well as an even more significant sense of hope, determination, and realization that college is a realistic ambition worth striving for.  Overall, our event was successful and enjoyable, and more importantly, it served as a true capstone experience for all involved.