Service Learning in CPACS
Service Learning is a method of teaching that combines classroom instruction with meaningful community service. This form of learning emphasizes critical thinking and personal reflection while encouraging a heightened sense of community, civic engagement, and personal responsibility.
Here are some examples of service learning activities by CPACS faculty and students during the past year.
Students from Instructor Treva Haugaard’s SOWK 1500 Social Work and Civic Engagement class will be doing a series of service learming projects, including the following:
- Work with students in Gardening Club classes at Nelson Mandela Elementary School.
- Work with Kindergarten Jump Start students at Nelson Mandela Elementary School. The UNO students will work alongside Nelson Mandela’s Speech Language and Occupational Therapists to help prepare Pre-K students to enter kindergarten. They will participate in hands-on activities with the students as well as create materials to help prepare parents who are sending their children to kindergarten in the fall.
- Work with the Women’s Center for Advancement Girl’s Leadership Academy today. This 8-week camp provides girls the opportunity to learn about important topics such as leadership, creativity, diversity, and conflict resolution. The UNO students will be supporting WCA staff as they work with the campers and help to develop and implement curriculum.
- Visit the the Intercultural Senior Center to assist in basic conversational English classes, Citizenship classes, and computer skills courses. Students will connect basic social work themes from their class while serving at the center and learn from the social services department about the needs of the refugee population and how their services serve our immigrant and refugee community.
- Work with the Family Works program though Heartland Family Service. UNO students observe and assist in the Parenting Class, Adult Group, infant/toddler care, and Kids Club each Wednesday night. They also complete weekly supervision to learn about substance abuse and residential treatment.
- Visit Completely Kids summer programs. The UNO students will be designing programming activities for students on Friday afternoons and assisting the CK staff with various other programs throughout the week. The experience will provide the UNO students with program design and implementation experience while providing Completely Kids with activities that they can use for years to come.
- Work with partner organization Grief’s Journey at their Family Day. Family Days allow participants to engage in activities and crafts that honor and remember special people who have passed. The UNO students will support Grief’s Journey staff as and families as they navigate activities and discussions.
Students from instructor Jeff Knapp’s Social Work and Civic Engagement course will be doing a series of service learning projects, including the following:
- Visit Adam’s Park each Wednesday to assist Blackburn’s culinary program in serving seniors lunch, prepared by the Blackburn culinary students. Students will serve, assist, and socialize with the seniors to learn more about them and build relationships. UNO students also have the opportunity to assist the Senior Program in creating a photo project that will be developed throughout the semester.
- Attend social skills classes at Nelson Mandela with Mr. Joe Ogba and his scholars. UNO students will be interacting with the scholars and preparing for their future family night focusing on wellness.
- Participating in a Completely Kids after school program providing a lesson to the children. Completely Kids works with children and families in schools, as well as homeless shelter programs.
- Working with second graders from Mrs. Doll-Fowler’s class at Edison Elementary on creating skits that demonstrate themes in coordination with Character Counts Pillars including common themes like respect and citizenship.
- Implement "Ball Pit Conversation" activities throughout the Omaha community.
- Serve at Table Grace Cafe throughout the semester to engage with patrons and help update the resource booklet for Table Grace Cafe and patrons.
Students from Dr. Lyn Holley's Introduction to Gerontology are working with the Nothing but Fun Trailblazers Afterschool Program at Lewis and Clark School. The students will plan a Senior Prom for seniors from AARP and the community. At the end of the project students will bring a senior citizen as a date to the Senior Prom.
Students from UNO’s Dr. Imafedia Okhamafe’s Autobiography Reading and Writing class (Goodrich Scholarship Program) and Ms. Frans’ group of 7th graders from Peter Kiewitt Middle School will meet with Jeremy Kaliff’s group of seniors from the Marquis Place of Elkhorn. The UNO and Peter Kiewitt Middle School students will engage in discussions based off the book Middle School: Get Me Out of Here, which they have been reading together throughout the course of this project. Afterwards, both the UNO and Peter Kiewitt Middle School students will group together with a senior to participate in different bucket list-making activities.
Students from Professor Emilio Herrera’s Social Work 1500: Social Work and Civic Engagement course will be doing the following activities:
- Working with Ms. Doll-Fowler’s second grade class at Edison Elementary and Quality Living, Inc. (QLI) to prepare game and activity boxes for residents at QLI to use as engagement with each other and visitors.
- Working in collaboration with Blackburn Alternative Program’s culinary class to provide lunches to the seniors at Adam's Park Senior Center, where students socialize with the seniors to work on their skills of intergenerational dialogue and qualitative data collection.
- Working with Ted E. Bear Hollow to learn more about the agency and skills to interact with clients while working at the support groups and Tinsel and Tears day camps in November and December.
- Working with the Nebraska Humane Society to help promote adoption of animals, including creating fuse beads in the shapes of dogs and cats mounted on a magnet, and distributed to new pet owners as a souvenir of the animals adoption day.
- Working with Nelson Mandela teachers to help plan, market, and facilitate Parent Resource Nights, including surveying the parents on satisfaction or barriers to attending.
Students from Professor Warden's Social Work Generalist Practice class will be going to the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility to conduct interviews with the inmates. The interviews will resolve around what resources the inmates will need upon reentering society.
Family Resource Night At Nelson Mandela School: A report on a P-16 initiative service learning project
By Amber Smit
Students from Professor Emilio Herrera’s Social Work & Civic Engagement course teamed up with Nelson Mandela Elementary School to support the school’s Family Liaison, Mr. Joe Ogba, to plan and facilitate a family resource night.
UNO students surveyed scholars’ parents on potential family night topics and potential barriers to attendance.
While planning for the resource night, UNO students contacted local banks and grocery stores to invite speakers to inform parents of local resources, including financial skills such as budgeting and smart shopping. UNO students also advertised the event through social media and family interaction.
Finally, UNO students had the opportunity to interact with the scholars by planning activities to develop social skills.
Mr. Ogba stated that “this project helped engage our families and helped them get over some barriers for seeking help to improve their family situation.”
As part of their P-16 service learning projects, students in Treva Haugaard’s Social Work 1500: Social Work & Civic Engagement course will:
- Work with students from Nelson Mandela Elementary students in multiple areas including working on data projects, developing a library brochure and tutoring students.
- Work with children enrolled in the Charles Drew Health Center’s Summer Garden Program. Summer Garden Program participants are youth from the Nothing But Net program, ages 9-13, who will be actively engaged in learning activities centered on nutrition, education, gardening, physical activity, and cooking.
- Collaborate with the Women’s Center for Advancement Girls Leadership Academy to create an education format for goal setting, and service learning. Each week throughout the semester, UNO students will share these topics with the girls while inspiring them to create and implement their own service learning project.
- Collaborate with Project Everlast to assist in leading a roundtable discussion of program participants ages 15-25 who provide feedback to staff about barriers and support the program provides.
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