Service-Learning in Action
Service-learning has once again been a central focus in several classes this semester, and two in particular recently put additional funds into action, thanks to a grant from the Gannett Foundation.
Lee Chase, Adjunct Faculty, has taught the Social Change through Service courses responsible for a greenhouse project at the Center for Youth After-School Program at James Monroe High School, and a healthy snacks program in collaboration with the Monroe County YMCA.
The Gannett grant, announced in January, provided $5,000 to support these student-led projects, covering programmatic costs to implement the programs that will benefit at-risk youth from the Rochester City School District.
Monroe High School’s greenhouse program started in 2010, and aims to increase the social and emotional health of its students. This grant allowed Fisher students to conduct research and provide education and program support for the greenhouse project developed by students in the program. The greenhouse was built two years ago, but has been underutilized.
Since the beginning of the semester, two groups of Fisher students have visited the school each week to get to know the teens and work with them on ideas to revitalize the greenhouse. Additionally, Fisher students went to South West Neighborhood Association (SWAN)'s greenhouse and shared their findings with the teens.
While logistical complications will prohibit the students from doing much with the greenhouse this semester, they will instead be submitting a formal business plan on steps Monroe High School should take to revitalize the greenhouse. The plan will include supplies that need to be purchased, a timeline, and a slew of ideas for working with the South Wedge Farmers Market next fall.
The YMCA’s program helps teens develop the skills they need to become successful through programs that build social, emotional, physical, and leadership skills. The grant allowed Fisher students to support a new Youth Entrepreneurship Program that provided opportunities to educate and model healthy living, collaborate with community resources, and support leadership development.
Most recently, Fisher students met with Dan Hoock, director of the program, and some of the teens to review their ideas for a pilot run of a "healthy snacks" entrepreneurial program. Fisher students and the teens will be selling a variety of healthy snacks at the YMCA to test out the packaged snacks they've put together. Fisher students and the teens have decided on the ingredients for each snack package, named the packages, purchased supplies, and developed a marketing plan. In addition, the students are elaborating on a business plan written by this fall's Social Change through Service students and will submit that at the end of the semester to the YMCA.