(Marietta, Ga. – May 6, 2014) 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 2, 2014, everyone took a moment to celebrate those accomplishments.
“We currently partner with more than 80 community organizations,” explained Chattahoochee Technical College Service Learning Coordinator Rashonda Welch. “These agencies are throughout the six counties we serve and have needs that can be addressed by our students, faculty and staff. Our students have contributed more than 12,000 hours towards these organizations. The value of that time would equal about $277,000.”
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. This year the Chattahoochee Technical College Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement also expanded its largest event a community seminar from last year with a revamped 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 two days at the Paulding Campus of Chattahoochee Technical College last month.
“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 planning annual cookouts for the residents of the Calvary Children’s Home, hosting a ceremony for the community’s military veterans, 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 programing. Through this project that is continued from 2013, teams of students developed customized web application that 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.
“Previously we had to tabulate these surveys manually,” said Tracy Wright of Communities in Schools. “Now we are much more efficient and effective to bring this program to local high schools.
Also honored at the event was Chattahoochee Technical College English Instructor Marian Muldrow of Dallas. Winning the Superstar Award, Muldrow was recognized for her efforts in various projects, including with partnerships with MUST Ministries, McKenna Farms Therapy Services, Warehouse of Hope (Douglasville), Books for Africa, Covering the Bases, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break food drives for Russell Elementary in Smyrna, CTC Child and Sexual Abuse Exploitation Conference, and Alive Ministries. Muldrow’s English students not only work with these various organizations, but they also write about their experiences for class.
“Service Learning is important because it teaches students to be humble, respectful and mindful of people that they perceive as different from themselves,” said Muldrow, who has been teaching at Chattahoochee Technical College’s North Metro Campus for two years. “In addition, we are a small part to improving the larger community where we work and live. Not only that, but Service Learning allows for more classroom engagement, and students can see the real-life value in literature, writing and their overall coursework as the service they do is tied directly to their research and assignments.”
For more information on Chattahoochee Technical College and its Service Learning initiatives, visit www.ChattahoocheeTech.edu or call 770-528-4545.