Monday, July 1, 2013

Working with Two Different Community Partners

The Frances Nelson Dental Center provides important care to un- or under-insured individuals.
by Ann Abbott

Sometimes students have difficulty choosing just one community partner with which to do their community service learning work. Some of my best students have broad interests and a strong desire to have a broad impact.

I almost always say no. It's really difficult to for even the most well-meaning students to work at two different places in the same semester. I usually encourage them to take the follow-up course--SPAN 332 Spanish & Entrepreneurship--and try their hand at a new community partner organization.

Some students do it successfully, though. And benefit from it. Read about one student who worked at  at ECIRMAC and also at Frances NelsonDental Center.

"I learned many transferable skills that are relevant to the medical field, like empathy, communication skills, patience, how to multitask, and how to work with people from different cultures. I also learned a lot more about the Champaign-Urbana community. Before this class I didn't realize how many immigrants lived in this area. I enjoyed learning about how the community works together to support these immigrants.

"I did an honors project working at Frances Nelson Dental center (SmileHealthy) as a translator. I learned more about the health care field and how certain things, like insurance, work. I also gained a lot of new Spanish vocabulary related to dentistry. And I definitely learned better time management skills, since sometimes I would be acting as an office assistant and translator at the same time."

If you could work with two community partners, which two would you choose and why?

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