(Acworth, Ga. – May 3, 2013) From food drives and building houses to dance parties and haircuts, Chattahoochee Technical College students have been giving back to the community through service learning and civic engagement projects, as well as through their own time. The college, which has more than 45 different programs of study, encourages its instructors to provide projects and opportunities for students to participate in with local non-profit agencies that take learning outside of the classroom. On Friday, May 3, 2013, everyone took a moment to celebrate those accomplishments.
“We currently partner with more than 80 community organizations,” explained Rashonda Welch, Chattahoochee Technical College Service Learning Coordinator. “These agencies are throughout the six counties we serve and have needs that can be addressed by our students, faculty and staff.”
The Chattahoochee Technical College Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement is committed to supporting efforts to combine academic instruction with service in the community in order to assist students in pursuing educational, career, and personal goals. Learning which is enhanced through service affirms the value of human life and creates a lifelong commitment to civic engagement, community connectedness, and social responsibility. Chattahoochee Technical College uses the service learning model to combine academic instruction with service in the community. Projects range from children, animals, health, crime prevention, seniors/elder care and the environment to many others. The year the Chattahoochee Technical College Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement also undertook its largest event a community seminar on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation that saw more than 200 members of the community, faculty, staff, students and law enforcement on hand for an 8-hour seminar.
“What’s truly amazing about this is that we as faculty get to do this alongside our students,” said Faculty Director of Service Learning Marcy Hehnly.
Faculty members and the organizations they had partnered with were honored in the ceremony as projects that they had participated in were described. Popular projects for students included writing about building a house with Bartow County Habitat for Humanity, collecting school supplies for children in Cherokee County, raising money for the Horizon Field in Acworth, recording books in the public domain and producing a reading theater project for the Cobb County Library, staffing health fairs, repairing computers for disadvantaged youth, teaching cooking skills to the developmentally disabled and a myriad of other projects that required faculty and student support. One of the most unique was a project by students who are studying computer programming. Taking on a client through Communities in Schools, teams of students developed customized software programs than can be used by the organization.
“They went from being able to have one student processed in 30 minutes for Reality U – an event that teaches high school students goal setting, financial planning and career ideas – to now being able to process 60 students in 30 minutes thanks to my students,” said David Busse, CTC Computer Information Systems Technology Instructor.
Also honored at the event was Chattahoochee Technical College Sociology Instructor Leigh Keever. Winning the Superstar Award, Keever was recognized for her efforts in various projects, including with the Cobb and Douglas Community Service Board. Each semester Keever’s students put on festivals for developmentally disabled adults. With music, food, games, crafts and entertainment, Keever’s introductory students learn about activities for different abilities and other concepts that are central to the study of sociology. Keever and her students also participate in other such activities, including education about preventing teen pregnancy, the Covering the Bases event and in helping to organize the large event of the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Seminar last month.
“My favorite cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,’” said Keever. “Working as a facilitator of adult learning, I have been blessed with several opportunities to connect my students with community partners. Their selfless, motivated, dependable, enthusiastic and tireless efforts provide a much needed service to those in our community, while offering them the opportunity to engage in active learning.”