Monday, April 14, 2008

New Community Partner: A Woman's Place

I just got back from a meeting with Deb and Danyale at A Woman's Place (Urbana). What wonderful women, and what a great service they are providing to our community. Their vision now is to better serve their Spanish-speaking residents, and with the help of our Spanish community service learning students I think that they can make strides in that direction.

In a previous post I wrote about their organization's need to help two of their current Spanish-speaking residents. They weren't full-fledged community partners at that point, but I put the call out to our students to see who could help.

Today they told me that they were extremely pleased about all the e-mails they received and the students' willingness to help them out with whatever they needed. (Thank you, students!)

Today's meeting, then, was to set up a community partnership so that our Spanish community service learning students can work with them on a consistent basis every semester. Whenever they have Spanish-speaking residents, then the students can work with the case managers to open communication and help with the children. These are the other projects they have in mind for students to work on if there are no Spanish-speaking residents at the time:

  • Translating their documents.
  • Putting signs in Spanish up around the facilities.
  • Community outreach--going to plants and churches in the community to inform the community of their existence and services.
  • Helping residents with life skills (e.g., resume writing, e-mail, basic computer literacy, etc.)
  • Creating videos in Spanish to welcome new residents, inform them, and help them through the necessary documentation.
If the basis of a solid community service learning program is mutually beneficial community partnerships, I feel that this is a very important partnership for Spanish & Illinois. A Woman's Place will be able to fill a need within the local Latino community, and my students will have an enriching and supportive learning environment. Creating these powerful partnerships is one of the highlights of my job.

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