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2011.04.25 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Students, Seniors Participate in 'Food for Thought' Project

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Service-Learning Academy has brought together a UNO Gerontology class, two Culinary Arts classes at Blackburn High School and more than two dozen seniors at the Adams Park Community Center with the “Food for Thought” project this semester.

The “Food for Thought” final celebration is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at Blackburn Alternative High School, 2606 Hamilton St. At the celebration, Blackburn students, UNO students and seniors who regularly attend the Adams Park Community Center will enjoy a barbeque and celebrate the relationships that they have built throughout year.

“Food for Thought” brings students together to apply their academic curriculum to a community need. Blackburn students have used valuable food preparation skills learned in class to cater meals for the seniors on Wednesdays throughout the school year. UNO Gerontology students interviewed Blackburn students to understand their perspectives about elders and observe any changes in those perspectives as the semester progressed. The UNO students have also been researching ways to improve elders’ life satisfaction, focusing on feelings of relevance and being socially connected to the community.

The Service-Learning Academy P16 Initiative facilitates partnerships between the university and K-12 schools with the purpose of connecting curriculum to community needs through the development of academic service learning experiences.

“It has been an incredible opportunity and privilege for the Blackburn students, staff and school as a whole, to have partnered in the service-learning project with UNO and Building Bright Futures. As a result of their participation, I've seen young peoples’ lives revitalized almost instantly and a reinvigorated confidence and interest in learning and themselves,” said Blackburn Principal Frederick Marisett.

As a special treat on April 27, Blackburn students will unveil a scrapbook created this semester, including photos and excerpts from interviews with the seniors.

The Service-Learning Academy at UNO and Blackburn Alternative Program work in partnership with Building Bright Futures to improve academic performance, raise graduation rates, increase civic and community responsibility and ensure all students are prepared for post-secondary education.

For more information, contact:

• Lucy Garza Westbrook, UNO Service-Learning Academy, 402-554-3055 or lgarza@unomaha.edu
• Lyn Holley, UNO Department of Gerontology, 402-554-4814 or lmholley@unomaha.edu
• Cathy Nelson, Blackburn Alternative Program, 402-344-3385, ext. 1079 or cathy.nelson@ops.org
• Luanne Nelson, Omaha Public Schools, 402-557-2070 or Luanne.Nelson@ops.org

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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