Our group took a different approach to the SPAN 332 project. We chose to search out grants to apply to that would allow us to get university funding for putting on an event that works with the Immigrant community. We ended up applying to the Service Learning Grant with a proposal to put on a DAPA registration event for the Champaign-Urbana Community, partnered with ECIRMAC (East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance center). A few of our group members had attended a similar event weeks prior and had seen the impact that it made on people’s lives and wished to continue making that impact! (If you’d like to learn more about DAPA visit this site: http://www.nilc.org/dapa&daca.html.) So our group wrote a grant which contained our proposal, the budget, and the impact that it would have on service learning at the university by hosting a DAPA registration event. Unfortunately, there was a federal court order which suspended DAPA implementation after we had submitted our grant, making it impossible to even register for DAPA. That's the only reason why we believe we didn't get it!
We learned a lot from this group project in which most of us had not really had much experience. Writing a grant proposal takes a lot of commitment and careful planning and it was definitely a new and very useful experience that offered us a lot of practical knowledge and understanding. Even though we were not awarded the Service Learning Grant, we still learned a lot about the DAPA program and how we could educate the immigrant community about it. Additionally, we developed some very useful teamwork skills and gained the necessary practice needed to write a winning grant proposal in the future, be it in the context of professional work, community service, or our future education and research. Not only did we write the best proposal that we could, but we had to ensure we completed all of the other requirements (filling out multiple forms, getting the proper signatures, researching prices and venues, ensuring our project would mutually benefit Illinois students and the community, etc.) on a very short timeline. We started this grant proposal just three weeks before the proposal was due, so we had a lot of work to do in a very short, finite amount of time and the fact that we completed everything with high quality and in a timely fashion shows that we efficiently and effectively worked together to accomplish our goal.
Our group did not get any grants to continue with our project for DAPA. Through this project, we became more aware of DAPA and how it can be a huge help to undocumented immigrants from getting deported unfairly. We also found out how there is a community in Urbana-Champaign that helps undocumented immigrants with their applications. Some of us are graduating this year, but even if we cannot personally help with DAPA in Champaign- Urbana, we will find volunteer opportunities to help the Latino community in different areas. Hopefully more volunteers participate in volunteering and the DAPA program gets reinstated by the federal government so more parents of children born in the United States can stay with their children.