Dr. Cassie Parente’s course English 567: Rhetoric and Community Service, offered at the OSU Marion campus last fall, wasn’t just about cramming for tests or getting a good grade. The goal was to offer financial and volunteer assistance to community organizations that have seen their funds cut due to the tough economy. The students initially received a $4,500 grant from National Pay It Forward Student-Led Philanthropy Initiative. They also raised funds on their own by holding a bake sale on campus. Students spent time working with the three finalist organizations to determine how to best assist them.
Students took what they learned in the classroom and used it to help solve serious problems in their own community. Service learning courses like English 567 are quickly becoming a key component of higher education, and the English Department at the Marion campus is offering eight service-learning classes this year. These programs have a lasting impact on the both the community and the students. Even though the course is over, some students are still volunteering with these organizations.
English 567: Rhetoric and Community Service is a course that inspires OSU students to become involved citizens in their local and global community. “Service learning is the foundation of an engaged university,” says Dr. Cassie Parente. All students are encouraged to take a service-learning class- you could change a life!
About the organizations…
Turning Point, a domestic violence shelter, received $1,175 of the grant money. The money will be used to give survivors of domestic violence the support services they need and to help them start over. The funds were to be used in the following manner: $600 for prescriptions, $400 for gas cards (bought in $10 increments), and $175 for document replacement.
“The funds we provide to Turning Point can enable someone to feel like they have an option and achieve that powerful form of social change we are seeking. I believe I can speak for my classmates and for myself when I say that I have become much more aware of the issue of domestic violence right here in our surrounding area. It is not something we can just push aside…it is very real. . Perhaps, through this money given to Turning Point, it can make a difference in the life of a victim and cause a life to be saved…creating that social change!”- Jennifer Miller, student.
Heart of Ohio Mentoring received $1,810--a combination of funds the students raised on their own and funds provided by a professional development grant from OSU Marion. The organization provides mentoring services for local children and their families. The students decided to give Heart of Ohio Mentoring the money to help fund a project that will allow local Grant Middle School students to publish their own book.
“The pressure is immense, but Heart of Ohio seeks to fill the role that is needed, whether it’s help with homework or just being the friend that everyone needs sometime. That is why our class decided to give $1,810 to the Heart of Ohio Mentoring book project…With this book, we believe that we can increase the student’s interest in reading, writing, and academics in general, as well as boost their confidence in themselves.” -Malcolm Carter, student
Marion Shelter Program received $3,325, which will be used to fund a project that will help convicted felons re-integrate into the community. The project will provide employment and housing services, among other things.
“While they don’t accept violent or sex offenders, The Shelter realizes that the addition of “felon” ball to a person’s chain makes reentry to society that much more difficult, and the average stay at The Shelter is increased from 25 days to 60 days…The $3,325 we’re donating to The Marion Shelter Program will pay for 5 felons to stay for 60 full days, setting them on the track to becoming employed, self sufficient, tax-paying citizens of Marion.” –Claire Gilsdorf, student