Academic Service-Learning @ St. John’s University

this is something great to contribute to society student participation and academic service-learning is on the rise you’re contributing to to our world here and the lives of the people who live here I think it makes the makes the course come alive for both the professor as well as the the student I’ve been here so many times and help my class is to give my experiences any opportunity to work on a project that is real and can be accessed is invaluable the whole university is in a way that it ties into their Vincentian mission I think it’s just a really terrific program service-learning this one of st. John’s signature experiences for our students I’m Lynne Trevino the director of the academic service-learning program academic service-learning is a classroom based program that involves students in some form of service to the community and through that service they will better understand the learning objectives of the course so we work with about 90 service sites over 80 in the New York metropolitan area and then there are about 12 globally each of the areas that they serve fall into four categories so it would be hunger and homelessness in health care education and youth services and then civic engagement which really encompasses our sustainability projects our environmental projects it’s key to having an academic service-learning component that there be a reflection assignment in the form of a paper it could be a presentation it could be a group presentation it’s the tool that’s used to connect the service in the community to the learning in the classroom we could start probably with health care and our nursing homes and we work primarily with three major nursing homes close to st. John’s we’re able to work on more of a project-based ASL so this would be where the class would take that organization on as a project it encompasses the entire semester my name is Kathleen Rallo Ferrara I’m the director of recreation and volunteers at Chapin home for the Aging a little small where we had students coming and periodically doing service learning hours we’ve had um a couple of classes that have been coming here for years in art class that comes every spring and they meet with the residents in a group format and then they come back to us at the end of the semester with a beautiful art that was created from the conversations they had together we’ve had a marketing class do this fantastic marketing for music devices iPods and an mp3 players we’ve noticed with our many of our residents have dementia and music is such a beautiful gift to bring them one of the elders here got to go back to st. John’s with me the day they presented and each one of them was just one more tender I do the big plug in September Bennett each resident council meeting after that somebody else is saying you know why don’t you get a student to come and help you do that and you know the st. John students they go all the time maybe they can help you with writing that letter so they’re really they’re really part of our family here they’re there’s so much I think the students at st. John’s can offer any any possible site that’s out there I can even I don’t they I don’t know how much I can show the appreciation I have for all the years of the time that we I’ve spent with the students and with the teachers and with ASO and and the great thank you for all they do for us we start with the community service site so we sit down and we talk to them on a regular basis to say what is it that that you need in what ways can we help you and then we’ve almost sort of back into it then in working with faculty so while I was meeting with the director of Bright Beginnings in Queens Village she identified that a long time want of theirs was to develop as some sort of mural for the outside of the building so I came back to campus and I automatically thought of dr. subra in her work with the art students I teach in the Department of Art and Design I teach a class called book arts and a class called printmaking and each of them uses ASL and see the the projects here in front of me and as well in the back this is from my printmaking class in which we do a project with st. Mary’s Hospital for Sick Children we went to st. Mary’s probably right before Halloween so we had these fun colored cards and we we trace their hands they wrote their names on them we did little stamps with them we had a dance party we had a lot of fun with them they they were really into it and it was just really nice to see that these kids who you know they’re not physically able to do a lot of things to see that these kids were able to interact and have fun with something that I’ve been doing since I was 2 or 3 years old myself was really really rewarding with the book arts class the students go in and have a site visit and meeting with the residents based on that experience they do a response for the project which is what you see here in front of you the ASL experience for the student I think is really inspirational and it’s motivational it’s incorporated in the classroom talking about it before what you’re going to do and like analyzing me or saying what you’re gonna do going to the site doing it and then at the end reflecting on what you did and seeing how rewarding it actually was you know that they’re these they’re independent artists and they’re working toward that in these projects so you know they’ve created these on their own and then they’re able to give back and I think it’s a it’s just a really important accomplishment for them that just makes me feel really really proud of them so global ASL is actually happening at each of our campuses abroad so in Rome Paris and Seville in addition to that we have what we call a short-term global ASL courses and one example of this would be dr. Nancy Kalani and her paediatric dysphasia course I completed my global academic service-learning last spring in Guatemala the professor is dr. Kalani she goes on these trips every year she takes her own individual trips multiple times throughout the year we participated pediatric dysphasia so we catered to Pediatrics and we worked with the children that had cleft palates or cleft lips cerebral palsy different types of disorders a lot of the children have trouble swallowing so we wanted to bring our knowledge there and teach them how to feed children with cleft lips and cleft palates so we can avoid the risk of aspiration these children in Guatemala they are found in the countryside like people go and drive around and try to find these children that parent just throw out because they have cleft lip palate or cerebral palsy so if anything it kind of gave me more motivation to provide my services to places outside of the United States I would just say our interactions being singing to them rocking them taking them out of the crib taking them out of their wheelchair there are times where the 12 of us got teary eyed or we choked up a little bit just from the conditions that we saw and it hurt us that we were only there for ten days and that people are actually living this life like every single day after this trip I decided that I want to specialize in dysphasia so I’m in my first semester of graduate school and I’ve already been making movements towards getting experience with dysphasia and I always keep in mind Guatemala because what we learn in the textbook is not what you’re going to learn in Guatemala I know a handful of us are trying to even go back this summer but we know that we have to give other students the opportunity to go this is something great to contribute to society and to take a step back and look at what the world has to offer and look at how you can provide services I really have to say that I’m continually amazed when we are able to actually hear and get some feedback either from our students and the impact it has had on their life or the impact to the community service sites it’s it’s incredible it really isn’t I find myself in an awesome position really just to and a privilege actually to just be a part of it and I’m always amazed I really am we’re involved in some so many really creative plus some projects where you would stop and say wow I would have never thought of that and yet they are happening and it’s it’s really been a great benefit to the communities that were working with you