Here are two true stories.
Last week, two people were shot at a corner store a block from my house. Some have called the store a “hot spot” for crime. At this point, no one knows who the shooters were. Continue reading
When you think of a typical service learning course, molecular genetics might not be the first class that springs to mind. Not so for Dr. Kimberlee Mix, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Mix received a Service Learning Course Development Stipend in May 2012 to incorporate a hands-on community-based learning component into this upper-level biology elective. Continue reading
Many Loyola students receive a Federal Work Study (FWS) award as part of their financial aid package. This program allows students to work part-time while earning money for school. Now FWS-eligible students can work at local nonprofit organizations at a higher rate of pay ($10/hour)! These are called Community Based Federal Work Study (CBFWS) jobs. Interested students should apply here. Continue reading
Last summer I received an announcement about the Impact Grant Program offered by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. I asked myself what would truly impact service learning at Loyola. Three things came to mind: supporting our faculty, supporting our community partners, and supporting our students. Now that we’ve received a generous grant from the Foundation, all three forms of support are materializing.
Service learning assignment: dress up as a pig.
Jimmy Tran, student in ACCTB493, dresses up as "Benjamin Bankes" at a volunteer event at the Louisiana Children's Museum.
Jimmy Tran, a student in Professor Jean Meyer’s accounting class, completed this assignment with panache. He wasn’t just any pig, he was “Benjamin Bankes,” a piggy bank who helps kids understand the importance of saving. Tran was among several of Meyer’s students who volunteered at the Louisiana Children’s Museum’s FETCH! Financial Literacy Saturday on January 21st. Students facilitated hands-on activities to help kids learn the value of money, including painting their own piggy banks and shopping for groceries on a budget.
A few years ago, I accompanied a group of college students on a service trip to Uganda. I had never been to Africa before. I was full of good intentions. I was ready to be helpful, open, sincere and culturally sensitive. But I thought I was a step ahead because I was also ready to be appropriately critical of the “helper” mentality. I was ready peel back the smiles and good vibes and inspect deeper dynamics of oppression, systemic injustice, power and privilege. I wasn’t just there to feel good and go home.
That’s why I was taken aback when, a few weeks before I left for Kampala, a well-meaning friend asked me, without menace and very straightforwardly, “Why are all the children in Africa always so dirty?”
Recently I was invited to write a review of Loyola’s service learning program for Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society. I was asked to reflect on the distinctiveness of Loyola’s service learning efforts. Given that so many universities in New Orleans have developed incredible community engagement programs, especially post-Katrina, what makes ours unique?
The answer came quite naturally: Loyola’s Jesuit mission, which is focused on cura personalis, the formation (and transformation) of whole persons.
On Thursday, March 18th, at 5:30 pm in the St. Charles Room of the Danna Student Center, please join us for ¡Juntos! A Forum on Latino New Orleans.
¡Juntos! will feature a panel of experts from agencies serving the growing Latino population in New Orleans. Agencies represented on the panel include: Puentes, the Hispanic Apostolate of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Common Ground Health Clinic, Reach NOLA, Language Access Coalition, the Loyola Immigration Law Clinic, the Louisiana Office of Public Health/Latino Outreach Project, and the Latino Apostolate of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.
Panelists will discuss the needs and assets of New Orleans’ Latino community and explore how Loyola can connect with this community and build meaningful partnerships. The panel will be followed by audience Q&A and a reception. The event is free and open to the public. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation is available via headset.
The Office of Service Learning is thrilled to be one of seven co-sponsors of Juntos, along with the Office of the Provost, the Office of Mission & Ministry, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for the Study of New Orleans, the Academic Resource Center, and the Center for International Education.
Come learn more about the amazing work of these agencies!
I love seeing Loyola’s service learning partnerships grow.
Last summer, I spoke with Jamie McDaniel, the social services director at Casa Oportunidades Nola. “Casa Nola” is a community center in Mid-City supported by the Latino Apostolate of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. Over 100 Spanish speakers enroll in four levels of ESL classes every semester at Casa Nola. There are often long waiting lists for these classes. Moreover, Casa Nola’s modest building on Cortez Street bustles with other community activities: barbecues, music nights, cultural celebrations.
Our conversation went more or less like a lot of conversations I have. Because of the popularity and success of the ESL classes at Casa Nola, Jamie wanted some Loyola service learning students to help as classroom assistants and tutors. I said we’d do whatever we could to lend a hand.