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 Jeff Knapp’s Social Work and Civic Engagement have the option to complete their service learning for the course from six different projects, involving a variety of populations. During the first few weeks of class they learn from the project partners about each agency and project overviews; then they have an opportunity to become oriented to their project roles and responsibilities directly from their agency partners. The students selected to work with Adams Community Center’s Senior Program and the Blackburn Alternative Program. The students from Blackburn’s culinary class will prepare a healthy lunch for Adam’s Center seniors. During this time, intergenerational relationships will form between Blackburn students, UNO students, and the seniors through their interactions over lunch and games. Students will serve, assist, and socialize with the seniors to learn more about them and build these relationships.
Master of Social Work Students with Professor Mary's Kate's class are doing a project with the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility working with youth clients. Throughout the semester the students interviewed the youth clients in order to create a usable discharge plan the facility team and youth can use when they rejoin society. Student will reflect on the three visits to conduct assessments of individual clients while working one on one; and will discuss their experience and learning in a final celebration.
UNO students from Instructor Jeff Knapp’s Social Work and Civic Engagement course will be particpating in a variety of service learning activities this semester, including:
- Meet with residents from Royale Oaks Assisted Living to plan their annual Fall Bash Party, build relationships with residents, and help with additional engagement activities.
- Meet with scholars at Nelson Mandela Elementary to engage the scholars in social skills groups and activities for executive functioning, including STEM-focused after-school programming; assist with the Family Resource Night held in October; and develop a resource brochure for the families of the scholars.
- Meet with children at the Completely Kids after school program to provide support to staff-led activities during the first 8-week session of the project, then lead the club during the second 8-week session, including engaging the kids in a service project with animals at a local shelter.
- Meet with children at the Completely Kids Nutrition Club to share interesting food facts, engage in fun topic-related activities, cook with the use of kid-appropriate recipes and create of a kid-inspired recipe book comprised of the dishes made during the meetings.
- Meet with Alliance for a Better Omaha to provide service hours at the food pantry and work with the nutritionist at Together and clients of the food pantry to create a nutrition guide and cookbook based on SNAP and food pantry items.
- Meet with students participating in the Hope Center for Kid’s Employability Program to assist with the development of curriculum around responsible social media usage and its importance as the high school students seek out future employment.
- Work with students from the Blackburn Alternative Program to prepare a meal, serve, assist, and socialize with the seniors at the Adams Community Center's Senior Program to learn more about them and build intergenerational relationships.
- Work with the Family Works program though Heartland Family Service to observe and assist in a parenting class, adult group, infant/toddler care, and kids club; participate in weekend recreational outing for the residents and their children; and complete weekly supervision to learn about substance abuse and residential treatment.
- Meet with the School Enrichment Academy, facilitated by the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands in partnership with the Little Leaf Learning Center, to help with tutoring based upon an established curriculum.
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.
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